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Unsuccessful investments in the Nigerian oil industry may have had a part to play in tennis legend Boris Becker’s recent bankruptcy, according to documents from the sports whistleblowing website Football Leaks, cited by German magazine Der Spiegel.
The Telegraph quotes Spiegel as reporting that at one point in time, Becker considered a single investment of over US$10 million in the Nigerian oil industry. However, Spiegel does not say whether the investment was indeed made and if yes, whether it was successful. Other documents, however, including emails from Doyen Global – the sports management agency that represented Becker for a while a few years ago – reveal that the tennis star had extensive interests in Nigerian oil.
Although no specific details about these interests were revealed, the magazine said that the internal Doyen documents also revealed Becker had met with Lakshmi Mittal, the head of the ArcelorMittal steel concern as well as Ghana’s President at the time, in 2013, to apparently “open doors” for Doyen.
Boris Becker was declared bankrupt by a London court last month, over debts to private bank Arbuthnot Latham & Co. His assets were estimated at US$130 million (100 million pounds) and will now be distributed among his creditors. Becker has been plagued by what may be seen as bad financial luck or maybe evidence that, as his lawyer told the bankruptcy court last month, “He is not a sophisticated individual when it comes to finances.”
Nigeria was among the hardest hit oil producers in the 2014 price crash. On top of dwindling oil revenues, it has had to deal with a series of militant attacks on oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta that crippled its output. Now the problem with the militants seems to be largely resolved, with government pledges for more investments in the wellbeing of the Delta communities. Prices have stabilized, although at levels much lower than in 2013. It’s likely Becker was not the only one who lost money from Nigerian oil investments.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.co
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.