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Becker optimistic about business loss case

Written by: Staff
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BERLIN, May 11 (Reuters) Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker is optimistic he will avoid being judged liable for 1.5 million euros (1.92 million dollar) in losses following the collapse of his Internet sports portal, his lawyers said.

Germany's Federal Court earlier this week annulled a ruling by a lower court in Munich that Becker, 38, was not liable for the sum following the failure of the Sportgate portal, opening the way for a new trial.

The website was supposed to be the portal for the German Sports Federation but the company filed for insolvency in 2001.

The administrator has said that Becker, who was a majority stakeholder in the company, had promised to pay 1.5 million euros to cover the firm's losses -- a charge Becker has denied.

As it was up to the insolvency administrators to bring the burden of proof in the case, ''Mr Becker regards the continuation of proceedings optimistically'', his lawyers said in a statement yesterday.

The three-times Wimbledon champion has run into considerable trouble since retiring from tennis in 1999, including a costly divorce, an admission that he fathered a child with a Russian model and a string of failed business ventures.

REUTERS PDS PM0439

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