An auction of trophies and personal memorabilia belonging to German tennis legend Boris Becker has attracted almost £700,000 in bids.
Becker auctioned off his trophies to pay off the debts he owes after being declared bankrupt two years ago.
The highest bid was £150,250 for a full-size sterling silver replica of the US Open trophy that Becker won in 1989 against Ivan Lendl.
Also up for sale were tennis rackets; shoes and clothes that he wore on the court; a watch gifted to him by Novak Djokovic, whom Becker used to coach; and a certificate commemorating his doubles gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
All of the 82 lots were sold during the auction, for a total of around £687,000.
Auctioneers Wyles Hardy & Co said nearly 500 participants from 32 countries signed up for the auction, with some even bidding from the audiences at Wimbledon.
Becker, a three-time Wimbledon champion, was declared bankrupt in June 2017 over undisclosed sums owed to London-based private bankers Arbuthnot Latham & Co.
There could be more trophies belonging to Becker which his estate have yet to find – and could help pay off his debt.
Mark Ford, the lead trustee to Becker’s bankruptcy estate, said: “We still hope to locate and recover the missing trophies including six relating to Mr Becker’s successes at Wimbledon and his two Australian Open titles.
“If anyone has any information relating to these, please contact the trustees in bankruptcy.”
The auction was due to take place last year but had to be postponed when Becker argued his appointment by the EU to the Central African Republic as a sports attache meant that he couldn’t face legal proceedings.
The claim was eventually dropped and the auction was rescheduled.
SMS Scharnhorst: Wreck of WWI German battlecruiser found near Falkland Islands | UK News
The wreck of a German battlecruiser that was sunk by the British during the First World War has been found off the coast of the Falkland Islands.
SMS Scharnhorst was the flagship of Admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee’s East Asia Squadron.
The armoured cruiser was sunk during the Battle of the Falkland Islands, a crucial naval battle in the early days of the First World War, on 8 December 1914.
The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust said the discovery is a major breakthrough in the “quest to locate all of the ships that comprised the German squadron lost during the battle”.
The search for the vessel began on the centenary of the battle in December 2014 but it was initially unsuccessful.
It was resumed this year using state-of-the-art subsea search equipment.
The operation, working from the subsea search vessel Seabed Constructor, involved the deployment of four Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs).
The vehicles, which used sonar equipment and a multi-beam echo-sounder, explored a search area of roughly 4,500km2 (1,737m2) of seabed.
SMS Scharnhorst was discovered on the third day of the search, 98 nautical miles south east of Port Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands, at a depth of 1610 metres.
Donald Lamont, chairman of The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, said: “You could even see the impact crater.
“We sent down a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) to explore and almost straight away we were into a debris field that said ‘battle’.
“Suddenly she just came out of the gloom with great guns poking in every direction.
“As a Falkland Islander and a marine archaeologist, a discovery of this significance is an unforgettable, poignant moment in my life. Our work on this important project is not done.
“We will continue to assess the images that we have captured and, in time, continue to search for the remainder of the fleet, in order to provide greater understanding of the events of that day, and to ensure the protection of the site.”
Graf von Spee’s fleet overpowered the Royal Navy, causing the deaths of 1600 British sailors, in the Battle of Coronel off the coast of Chile in November 1914.
A month later a British squadron under the command of Vice-Admiral Doveton Sturdee, pursued, engaged and defeated Graf von Spee’s squadron in the Battle of the Falkland Islands.
Graf von Spee’s fleet comprised of the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Nürnberg and Leipzig.
The British success was important because the German East Asia Squadron, Germany’s only permanent overseas naval formation, effectively ceased to exist.
It therefore brought an end to German warship attacks on merchant vessels.
The Scharnhorst, built in Hamburg in 1905, was the first to be sunk after sustaining substantial damage inflicted by HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible.
The attack on the squadron left 2,200 German sailors dead, including Gran von Spee himself and his two sons.
Wilhelm Graf von Spee, head of the von Spee family, said: “Speaking as one of the many families affected by the heavy casualties suffered on 8 December 1914 at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, the discovery of SMS Scharnhorst is bittersweet.
“We take comfort from the knowledge that the final resting place of so many has been found, and can now be preserved, whilst also being reminded of the huge waste of life.”
The Falkland Maritime Heritage Trust is now seeking to have the site formerly protected in law.
The film production company TVT recorded the search from its inception five years ago.
Experts who viewed unedited clips have said they reveal new information about the battle and the history of the Falkland Islands.
Cyber criminal charged with stealing £76m while working for Russian intelligence | Science & Tech News
A cyber criminal indicted in the US has been accused of working with Russian intelligence to steal classified government documents, according to a senior official at the US Treasury.
The man was one of two men in Russia indicted by the US on Thursday for their part in developing the Dridex banking malware which has stolen millions from victims in the West.
Victim organisations in more than 40 countries were hit by the Dridex malware, which allowed the alleged criminals to steal more than $100m (£76m) in one hacking campaign dating back to 2011.
Maksim Yakubets is accused of being the leader of the hacking group calling itself “Evil Corp” while Igor Turashev has been accused of being one of the group’s key administrators.
American and British authorities collaborated to identify and charge the criminals, who were accused of being behind “two of the worst computer hacking and bank fraud schemes of the past decade”.
Sanctions from the US Treasury target 17 individuals and seven entities tied to Evil Corp, including its “core cyber operators, multiple businesses associated with a group member” and financial organisations used by the group.
Yakubets was accused of providing “direct assistance to the Russian government” by working for the FSB, Russia’s federal security service, to acquire “confidential documents” for the intelligence agency as well as conduct other cyber operations.
He is currently believed to be at large in Russia. The US State Department has announced a $5m (£3.8m) reward for information leading to his capture.
Yakubets is also accused of committing bank fraud in connection with a second hacking campaign using the Zeus malware, which began in 2009.
Zeus has been tied to thefts of an estimated $70m (£53m) occurring as recently as March this year.
Additional core members of the group sanctioned by the US Treasury include Dmitriy Smirnov, Artem Yakubets, Ivan Tuchkov, Andrey Plotnitskiy, Dmitriy Slobodskoy, and Kirill Slobodskoy.
Lifestyle images of the extravagant holidays and cars purchased by the criminals were released by the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK, which was thanked by the US DoJ for its contribution to the investigation.
Paul Chichester, the director of operations for the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, said: “Today’s announcement is the result of a multi-year investigation with our law enforcement and international partners.
“Dridex has been targeting UK victims since at least 2014, compromising and stealing from large organisations, SMEs and the general public.
“Malware is a continuing cyber threat but we can all reduce our risk of becoming victims to cyber criminals by ensuring our devices are patched, anti-virus is turned on and up to date and files are backed up.”
The US assistant attorney general Brian Benczkowski said: “These two cases demonstrate our commitment to unmasking the perpetrators behind the world’s most egregious cyberattacks.
“The assistance of our international partners, in particular the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom, was crucial to our efforts to identify Yakubets and his co-conspirators.”
The FBI’s deputy director David Bowdich added: “Today’s announcement involved a long running investigation of a sophisticated organized cyber-crime syndicate.
“The charges highlight the persistence of the FBI and our partners to vigorously pursue those who desire to profit from innocent people through deception and theft.
“By calling out those who threaten American businesses and citizens, we expose criminals who hide behind devices and launch attacks that threaten our public safety and economic stability.”
Donald Trump: Process of impeachment has moved to next stage, Pelosi says | US News
The process of impeaching President Donald Trump has formally moved to the next stage, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said.
She added that “the president leaves us no choice but to act” as she said the House of Representatives was moving forward to draft articles of impeachment.
Ms Pelosi argued that “no one is above the law” and Mr Trump’s actions were a “violation of the public trust and constitution”.
Responding to the announcement, Donald Trump said his political rivals were trying to impeach him “over nothing”.
“This will mean that the beyond important and seldom used act of Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents,” he said.
He added: “The good thing is that the Republicans have NEVER been more united. We will win!”
It comes after he told Democrats earlier on Thursday that if they are going to impeach him “do it now, fast”, saying he wants to expose “how corrupt our system is”.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the Democrats should be “ashamed” and argued the president had “done nothing but lead our country – resulting in a booming economy, more jobs and a stronger military”.
The impeachment articles could be voted on over the next two weeks and if a simple majority of the House votes in favour, the president will be formally impeached.
If this happens, there will be a trial in the Senate to decide if he should be removed from office.
Sky News US correspondent Cordelia Lynch says it still looks “highly unlikely” the president could be removed.
She said: “What it does signify is that Nancy Pelosi is very confident that she has the votes that she needs from her own party to vote and confident that they will be able to impeach Donald Trump.
“That is because the Democrats hold the majority in the House of Representatives but… it’s just the start.
“If it is decided that Donald Trump should be impeached – and there is no indication any Republicans in the house would support that – then it would go to the Senate.
“Now Republicans control the Senate, you’d need a two-thirds majority voting to convict and remove Donald Trump.”
The announcement came the day after the House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing in the inquiry, during which three of the four witnesses alleged Mr Trump had committed impeachable offences.
A fourth expert warned against rushing the process and said the impeachment proceedings had the “thinnest” record of evidence in modern times.
Ms Pelosi met behind closed doors with her Democratic caucus on Wednesday when she asked: “Are you ready?”, the Associated Press news agency reported.
The answer was a resounding yes, people in the room told AP.
Democratic Rep Steve Cohen, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, told CNN he believes the articles of impeachment will include the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The party has claimed Mr Trump used his position to solicit foreign interference to boost his chances of re-election next year.
In its impeachment report released earlier this week, Democrats say that not only did the president seek overseas help for his re-election campaign, but that he undermined national security in doing so.
The report said there was evidence that Mr Trump had conducted a “month’s long effort” to “use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election”.
During Congress impeachment hearings, Mr Trump was accused of trying to put political pressure on Ukraine to dig up dirt on the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
They say the president has made an “unprecedented” effort to obstruct the investigation after he refused to provide testimony from himself, or his advisers.
The president has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
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