Boris Becker denies claims diplomatic passport is ‘fake’

Former German tennis player Boris Becker. (AFP)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Boris Becker denies claims diplomatic passport is ‘fake’

  • Lawyers for the three-time Wimbledon champion lodged a claim in the High Court in Britain saying that he had been appointed a sports attache for the CAR to the European Union (EU) in April
  • Becker shook up the tennis world at Wimbledon in 1985 when, as an unseeded player, he became the then youngest-ever male Grand Slam champion at the age of 17

LONDON: Tennis legend Boris Becker on Friday insisted that his Central African Republic diplomatic passport, which he claims entitles him to immunity in bankruptcy proceedings, was real despite the country’s leaders calling it a “fake.”
“I have received this passport from the ambassador, I have spoken to the president on many occasions, it was an official inauguration,” the German star told BBC’s Andrew Marr.
“I believe the documents they are giving me must be right.”
Lawyers for the three-time Wimbledon champion lodged a claim in the High Court in Britain saying that he had been appointed a sports attache for the CAR to the European Union (EU) in April.
This, they argued, granted him immunity under the 1961 Vienna Diplomatic Convention on Diplomatic Relations from bankruptcy proceedings over failure to pay a long-standing debt in Britain.
Bur CAR leaders say the document’s serial number corresponded to one of a batch of “new passports that were stolen in 2014.”
In April, the 50-year-old former tennis star tweeted a picture of himself shaking hands with CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera at a meeting in Brussels.
Becker told Marr he was “very happy anytime soon to visit Bangui, the capital and to speak to the people, personally about how we can move forward and how can we resolve this misunderstanding.”
Becker shook up the tennis world at Wimbledon in 1985 when, as an unseeded player, he became the then youngest-ever male Grand Slam champion at the age of 17, defending the trophy the following year.
He went on to enjoy a glittering career and amassed more than $25 million (21.65 million euros) in prize money.


Ozil defends controversial picture with Erdogan

Updated 22 July 2018
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Ozil defends controversial picture with Erdogan

  • Ozil said he was loyal to both his Turkish and German origins
  • He insisted he did not intend to make a political statement

BERLIN: Footballer Mesut Ozil said Sunday he had no regrets about his controversial photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that sparked questions about his loyalty to Germany’s national squad ahead of the World Cup.
Breaking his silence over the snapshot that caused outrage during the tournament, the Arsenal midfielder said in a statement on Twitter that he was loyal to both his Turkish and German origins and insisted he did not intend to make a political statement.
“Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots firmly based in Turkey,” he said.
“I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish.”
Ozil said he had first met Erdogan in 2010 after the president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel watched a Germany-Turkey match together.
“Since then, our paths have crossed a lot of times around the globe,” he said.
“I’m aware that the picture of us caused a huge response in the German media, and whilst some people may accuse me of lying or being deceitful, the picture we took had no political intentions.”
Ozil said despite the timing of the picture with teammate Ilkay Gundogan and Erdogan — shortly before the president won re-election in a poll endowing him with sweeping new powers — “it wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country.”
“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies,” Ozil said.
“I get that this may be hard to understand, as in most cultures the political leader cannot be thought of as being separate from the person. But in this case it is different. Whatever the outcome would’ve been in this previous election, or the election before that, I would have still taken the picture.”
Ozil, 29, came in for stinging criticism in Germany for their shock first-round defeat at the World Cup.
Team boss Oliver Bierhoff suggested after the debacle that Germany should have considered dropping Ozil after his failure to explain himself over the Erdogan picture.
Bierhoff later backtracked, saying that he “was wrong” to put Ozil under undue pressure, but the picture continued to draw scorn from fans on social media.
Germany is home to more than three million people of Turkish origin.