Prosecutor wanted 3 1/2 years without probation.
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By ROLAND LOSCH
Associated Press Writer
October 24, 2002
MUNICH, Germany (AP) -- Former tennis star Boris Becker was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation for tax evasion.
``I'm happy and relieved that this chapter is finally closed,'' Becker said following the verdict, which was greeted by applause in the courtroom. ``I'm a free man. That's the important thing.
``I accept that I am responsible for a mistake that I made 10 years ago and I know that I have to pay for that.''
Becker, accused of avoiding $1.7 million in taxes, also was fined $300,000 and ordered to pay court costs. He admitted in court Wednesday that he kept a residence in Germany 10 years ago while claiming to reside in the tax haven of Monaco.
Prosecutor Matthias Musiol had asked for a 3 1/2 -year jail sentence, arguing that the 34-year-old Becker deliberately gave false information to save money.
Becker's lawyer asked for probation, saying Becker wasn't the one who gave false information about his finances.
``His advisers did that,'' said Joerg Weigell, adding that Becker was only concerned about playing tennis.
Weigell said Becker has paid $3 million in back taxes, double the amount sought by investigators.
Presiding Judge Huberta Knoeringer said Becker's confession, and payment of back taxes, saved prosecutors the complicated process of proving their case in court.
``I don't know how that would have ended,'' Knoeringer said.
Knoeringer also noted that Becker was young during the years when he claimed Monte Carlo as his residency and that he returned to the Germany in 1994 to pay taxes, unlike several other of the country's top sports stars