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Arantxa Sanchez Vicario: Former world number one gets two-year suspended sentence for fraud

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario: Former world number one gets two-year suspended sentence for fraud

Former world number one Arantxa Sanchez Vicario has been given a suspended two-year jail sentence for fraud.

Sanchez Vicario, her ex-husband Josep Santacana and three other people were convicted at a Barcelona criminal court of hiding assets to avoid paying a debt to the Bank of Luxembourg.

Santacana was sentenced to three years and three months in jail.

The couple, who denied the charges, were also ordered to pay 6.6m euros (£5.6m) in compensation.

Sanchez Vicario had blamed Santacana, arguing he had been handling her money and that she was not aware of any illegality or assets being tampered with.

In sentencing, the court said even though Sanchez Vicario did not have the financial knowledge to carry out the operations, she “had full knowledge” of what was done with her assets with “the full awareness” of the debt she still had with the Bank of Luxembourg.

The case stems from the Spaniard being ordered in 2009 by the Supreme Court to pay a 5.2m-euro (£4.5m) fine for tax fraud between 1989 and 2003, when she was resident in Spain rather than Andorra, as she had said.

The Spanish state collected the money through the Bank of Luxembourg but the bank later accused the couple, who divorced in 2019, of failing to pay back the debt and concealing assets.

Sanchez Vicario, 52, won four Grand Slam singles titles and 10 doubles titles during her playing career between 1985 and 2002 and was the first Spanish player to reach world number one.

She won the Wimbledon women’s doubles title in 1995 and is a two-time Wimbledon singles finalist, losing to German great Steffi Graf on both occasions – 1995 and 1996.

The Spaniard also won two bronze and two silver medals representing Spain at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games.

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