Boris Becker’s diplomatic passport is a “clumsy fake”, a Central African Republic foreign minister has claimed, in the latest instalment of the former tennis star’s bankruptcy saga.
The three-times Wimbledon champion is asserting diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention in his bankruptcy proceedings, and provided a High Court judge with a letter from the CAR embassy in Brussels stating that he is an attache for sports, humanitarian and cultural affairs in the European Union.
The letter stated that Becker was issued with a diplomatic passport on March 19 and that it runs until 2023.
However, a diplomatic passport requires the signature of the country’s foreign minister, Charles Armel Doubane. He claimed to Reuters that the version he has seen is a "clumsy fake", adding that "the signature on the passport was not mine".
Mr Doubane said the government is launching an inquiry into who issued the passport to Becker.
The foreign ministry’s chief of staff, Cherubin Moroubama, told Agence-France Presse: “The diplomatic passport that he has is a fake.”
He claimed the document’s serial number corresponded to one of a batch of passports stolen in 2014, and that the role Becker claims to occupy as a roving attache “does not exist”.
The diplomatic passport that he has is a fake
Cherubin Moroubama, the CAR foreign ministry’s chief of staff
There appears to be a difference of opinion between the country’s foreign ministry and its Brussels outpost, and the foreign ministry appears to be contradicting a statement attributed to the president, Faustin Archange Touadéra.
The Brussels embassy issued a statement on Sunday reiterating that “Mr Becker is a support of our country and was appointed to the diplomatic service by the president of our country. His office is in Brussels. Mr Becker is in mission for our country and our embassy in the field of sport, culture and humanitarian affairs.”
The statement said Britain must comply with the Vienna Convention and “respect all diplomats and their rights”.
Becker announced his new role in a press statement in April, and was pictured with the president. The statement said that the office was “official bestowed” by President Touadéra and his ambassador, Dr Daniel Emery Dede.
It included a quote from President Touadéra declaring he was “extremely pleased that a world star like Boris Becker, with his extensive international relations, has agreed to support our country”.
Becker said he would use his “international network” to help make the country safe. He has yet to visit the CAR.
A spokesman for Becker was unavailable for comment.