CAR: Boris Becker defends CAR diplomatic status in passport row
London, June 24, 2018 (AltAfrika)-A former Tennis champion, Boris Becker has insisted he takes his duties as a diplomat for the Central African Republic seriously, despite the county’s foreign secretary saying the tennis player’s passport is fake.
The German sportsman is involved in a long-running bankruptcy dispute, but last week his lawyers said that under the Vienna convention he could not be subjected to any legal proceedings without the consent of the British government and ministers in Bangui, because he is the CAR’s attaché to the European Union on sporting, cultural and humanitarian affairs.
The country’s foreign minister, however, who has to authorise all such passports, has said the signature on Becker’s diplomatic document is fake.
The former tennis player insists this is not the case and says he was approached by President Faustin-Archange Touadéra earlier this year to improve the CAR’s reputation. Becker said he felt an affinity with the country because his own family has experienced “some of the same issues and some of the problems” as the people of one of the the world’s poorest nations.
“I am a son of a refugee, my family is all mixed-race, so I have strong feeling towards the African continent, and therefore have a lot of respect and seriousness,” Becker told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme.
“I have experienced racism, I experienced these type of problems and I want to make a change. Me, as a very German-looking man, it is something very close to my heart.”
Becker, whose possessions are this week being auctioned off as a result of a claim for millions of pounds by a private bank, insisted his decision to inform the court of his alleged diplomatic status is unrelated to his money issues.
“That has nothing to do with my bankruptcy proceedings. It was just informing the trustee and the courts that if they want to send me to another hearing then my official address is the [CAR] embassy in Brussels and not at Wimbledon or in Germany.”
Becker admitted he had never been to the CAR but saif that “when I have a week free I’d love to visit the country”.
He declined to clarify whether German politicians had been involved in arranging the diplomatic passport, following suggestions from Marr that members of the anti-immigrant AfD party had been, and insisted the document was from the country’s embassy in Brussels.
“I don’t know what is going on within the politics of Central Africa but I have received this passport from the ambassador … I believe the documents they’re giving me must be right.”
“Being a diplomat has its ups and has its downs,” he said.