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Today 04:29 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

So the investigation of Graf's taxes had been public --internationally public-- knowledge since July 1995, and would have been known in inner circles by April 1995, and Peter Graf has been in jail since early August 1995 because he might destroy evidence. And no one thinks that the paper trail on the politician/bureaucrat side has been tampered with in any way by October 1995?

Graf's 'special tax deal' to be probed
The Independent
London, England
Friday, October 13, 1995

Bonn - German politicians decided to launch a special inquiry into allegations that the tennis star Steffi Graf was given too much special treatment by her regional tax authorities. The parliament of Baden-Wurttemberg state, where Graf's tax affairs are being investigated, voted to form a committee to probe the state's role in a much-publicized scandal which has been front-page news for months.

Graf's father, Peter, was jailed in August to prevent him fleeing or concealing evidence to support accusations that he and his daughter evaded millions of marks in tax. The Grafs say they struck a deal with the state's tax authorities in 1993, agreeing on their tax liability.
Today 04:27 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Tennis: Graf confirms Brighton entry
The Independent
London, England
Friday, October 13, 1995

Steffi Graf, the Wimbledon champion and joint world No 1 with Monica Seles, will play in the Brighton International tournament, which starts on Tuesday. The German, who has been suffering from chronic back trouble this year, has not played since winning the US Open early last month.

She has always admitted that, of all the tournaments on the international circuit, Brighton is her favourite because she is able to move around the town without attracting undue attention.

When she learned that this year would be the last time the Brighton event, lacking a sponsor, would be staged, the 26-year-old was determined to play.

Earlier this week there were serious doubts about her fitness and a report that she had withdrawn from the tournament. She is also under pressure from an investigation into alleged tax evasion.

George Hendon, the Brighton promoter, said that Graf would give herself a "rigorous work-out" at home in Germany before making a final decision.

Yesterday Graf told the Women's Tennis Association that she was "fit and well" and would be in the 28-strong field which will include Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic, Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria and the American Lindsay Davenport, all of whom are in the world's top 10. Clare Wood, the former British No 1, is expected to be given a wild card.
Today 04:26 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I have never loved Stefanie the Steadfast more than when she played Brighton 1995. Yes, she got knocked on her behind, but greatness isn't always about winning or even coming close. Sometimes, it's about dragging your rusty game, aching body, frazzled brain, and broken heart out on the court to play a doomed tournament in front of indifferent spectators to save an organization that detests you from paying a fine it really cannot afford and assure the new, lukewarm tour sponsor that they haven't made a $12 million mistake while most of the twits and hecklers in the press room have no clue why you suddenly "changed your mind."

Graf confirms Brighton date - Tennis
The Times
London, England
Friday, October 13, 1995
Stuart Jones, Tennis Correspondent

CONTRARY to unfounded rumours circulating around Germany, Steffi Graf yesterday confirmed that she will play in the Brighton tournament next week. Having passed ''a self-imposed fitness test", the world No1 informed the organisers that she intends to fill her role as the top seed.

Since her father was imprisoned for alleged tax evasion, she has been subjected to unremitting attention in her homeland, and may not escape the hounding on the South Coast. An unusually high number of German media representatives have applied for accreditation.

George Hendon, the promoter of the Brighton event, yesterday described the reports that Graf would not play as ''unfounded". He said that Graf intended to give herself another rigorous workout at home in Germany and was fully expecting to play.

Graf herself informed the Women's Tennis Association that she was ''fit and well" and would be in the 28-strong field. Graf, six times the Brighton champion and the holder of the French, Wimbledon and US Open titles, has been beaten only once this year, by Amanda Coetzer, the diminutive South African who is to make her first appearance in the Brighton event.

Anke Huber, the No10 in the world and second behind Graf in Germany, has withdrawn. Her place will be taken by the No11 seed, Iva Majoli, an 18-year-old who collected the first senior title of her career last week by beating Mary Pierce in the final in Zurich.

Among Graf's rivals in Brighton will be Jana Novotna, of the Czech Republic, Magdalena Maleeva, of Bulgaria, and Lindsay Davenport, of the United States, all of whom are in the world's top ten.
Today 04:24 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

She made another visit to the prosecutors' office on that particular Friday the 13th, and although it seems that meeting was less adversarial, it was likely no less distressing and disturbing to see so many forgeries of her signature. Not exactly the best preparation for tournament play.

Graf Case Transfixes Germans
The New York Times
October 13, 1995

Her father and her tax adviser sit in jail. She was grilled for eight hours last week by German tax officials. Her agent and a major sponsor are fighting with each other. She has dropped out of tournaments, emotionally drained and suffering from a back injury. There is endless speculation that she will leave professional tennis, move away from Germany or be arrested.

The Steffi Graf tax-evasion case has riveted the German public since Peter Graf was arrested on Aug. 2. It is a tale of a greedy, domineering father whose search for riches not only ruins his life but also that of his daughter as well.

And authorities are just beginning to piece together the complex web of finances set up by Steffi Graf's father over the past decade that has become a public riddle. How much money does she have? Where is it? Who is managing it? How much does she owe the German Government in back taxes? How much does she know about her finances?

Although Germans still want to believe that Steffi, who is 26, knew nothing about her father's alleged tax-evasion schemes, her case strikes at that heart of a burning issue here. Can Germans continue to pay the enormous costs for an extravagant social net that has kept crime and social disorder to a minimum while maintaining their standard of living, currently among the highest in the world?

For single wage earners with incomes of $85,000 a year or more, 56 percent vanishes in taxes. The average German household pays almost as much, an average tax rate of 48 percent. And Germans seem to have reached the breaking point.

Over the past three years, the country has been plagued by tax-evasion schemes. Middle-class Germans have carried untold billions of dollars in suitcases across the border into Luxembourg and other tax havens. The country's cash economy -- out of the reach of taxes -- has mushroomed.

Against this backdrop, the Government has begun to crack down, raiding offices of the country's largest banks to find evidence of tax-evasion schemes. Peter Graf, who is 57, should have expected no less.

Thus, the image of the super rich avoiding taxes, either by moving their residences to Monaco or other tax havens, or in Steffi Graf's case, simply not paying taxes, riles a society that believes in following the rules.

According to private estimates by those close to the case, the Grafs paid about $7 million in taxes since 1983 on income estimated to be more than $100 million. Put another way, they may owe as much as $50 million in back taxes.

Currently, there are far more questions than answers, including claims that Peter Graf reached agreements with key state authorities for preferential treatment. His lawyer has confirmed reports that in 1993, Peter Graf and tax authorities in his home state of Baden-Wurttemberg agreed that Steffi Graf's taxable income was $1.9 million while in fact it totaled almost $12 million. State officials deny making any such deals.

The Graf family did not file tax returns for four years, 1989 through 1992, and never received demands for such filings. This is odd in a country known for bureaucratic efficiency.

As early as 1991, officials of the German Government in Bonn had notified local tax authorities that something was wrong, but it took years for any action to be taken. In Germany, tax collection is handled at the state level.

"It is clear that an extraordinarily favorable treatment was given here by local officials and that has to be fully investigated," said Dieter Puchta, finance committee chairman of the Baden-Wurttemberg state legislature.

At the same time, what is emerging is a picture of Steffi Graf's finances that would sound alarm bells in any tax inspector's ears.

According to prosecutors, when the tennis star's earnings started to skyrocket in the mid-1980s, Peter Graf set up a murky chain of shell corporations outside of Germany to handle the family finances.

The key investment company, prosecutors said, was Sunpark B.V. in Amsterdam, set up in 1987. Into that company, Steffi's major sponsors, including Adidas, Opel and Sudmilch, paid fees totaling more than $3 million a year, according to German officials.

"It was clear from the beginning this was set up solely to avoid paying taxes," Puchta said. He added that prosecutors will also have to determine whether they believe that any of the sponsors might have engaged in misconduct by paying into such a shell corporation.

But the money was not just parked in the Amsterdam account. From there, the authorities said, it was sent to another shell corporation in the Netherlands Antilles, Sunpark N.V., and then it could be transferred to shell corporations in other tax havens like Liechtenstein. According to published reports, just before his arrest, Peter Graf had given orders to transfer $30 million out of his Amsterdam account to accounts in Monaco, Switzerland and Guernsey, as well as Liechtenstein. The transaction was stopped by the Dutch Government upon fears that it was part of a money-laundering scheme.

Such off-shore accounts are not uncommon for professional athletes with millions of dollars of income annually. Some, like the German tennis star Boris Becker and the former Swedish star Bjorn Borg, changed their residences for years to Monte Carlo, where they were not subject to income taxes, and such off-shore accounts are both legal and are used to keep tax payments at a minimum.

For residents of Germany, as well as United States residents, any assets in these kinds of accounts have to be reported to tax authorities, and taxes must be paid on income.

But even athletes living in tax havens cannot avoid taxes entirely. They still have to pay taxes in different countries around the world where they generate income. For example, if they earn appearance fees at a tennis tournament in the United States, they pay the going American tax rate on that amount only. But they are able to avoid taxes on their global income.

While Becker was often criticized for "abandoning" Germany to avoid paying taxes, Steffi Graf was the one major sports star held up as the example of national loyalty. She always said she did not want to abandon Germany and was willing to pay her taxes.

But apparently her father calculated on being able to negotiate favorable deals so that the family would not be subject to the legal tax rate. Those who have known him for years say he often went around boasting that he had so many friends in government, he was untouchable.

Peter Graf was arrested while under investigation by German authorities out of fear that he would destroy evidence, transfer funds out of the reach of tax officials and flee the country.

The Graf family's tax adviser, Joachim Eckardt, was arrested Sept. 26 on charges of providing false information to authorities and failing to hand over certain documents.

The Graf case is unusual among professional athletes because she left her finances in the hands of family members with no real professional money management skills. Many athletes hire management firms with proven records to handle all their finances.

Steffi is represented by Advantage International, a management firm that handles most of her sponsors and her bookings but does not manage or invest her money. That task, those close to her say, was given to her father as a way to remove him from the daily supervision of her tennis career.

Peter Graf, a used-car salesman before taking over his daughter's finances, was known for collecting appearance money or endorsement money in cash and carrying it around in big paper bags. He also insisted that some sponsors deposit cash rather than wiring money.

And now Peter Graf's questionable financial dealings have set off a tense argument between Steffi Graf's business representative, Philip de Picciotto, a managing director of Advantage International of McLean, Va., and Opel A.G., one of Steffi's longtime sponsors, whom Advantage does not handle.

Advantage has shown up in corporate documents as one of Sunpark N.V.'s shareholders. Opel, which was stung earlier this year by a corruption scandal, has demanded an explanation from de Picciotto of Advantage's involvement, threatening to sever ties with Steffi if it is not forthcoming.

De Picciotto says that the Grafs asked Advantage to be part of Sunpark in 1987 when it was founded and that he declined. But still, for reasons he says are unknown to him, Advantage showed up as a Sunpark N.V. shareholder. De Picciotto says he has tried to explain his position to Opel but has been given a cold shoulder.

"We do not like it at all, because we have doubts about whether he or Advantage International did in fact participate in questionable transfers of sponsoring money," Hans Wilhelm Gab, Opel's head of public affairs and a long-time Graf family friend, said about de Picciotto.

De Picciotto notes that Opel is so far the only sponsor to take such a position against him.

"Advantage has represented Steffi for 12 years, and because of the intense interest in this story on the part of the German media, it is unavoidable that Advantage would be mentioned," de Picciotto said. "However, the issues of this case all relate to Steffi's German taxes, and Advantage has never had anything to do with her taxes or the management of Steffi's assets."

For her part, Steffi has admitted she made a mistake in not paying attention to her finances and has promised to pay whatever back taxes she owes.

"Basically, I have rather blindly trusted that everything was in order," she said in a recent interview with the German magazine Focus. "Now, for the first time, I must get a full overview of the situation."
Yesterday 04:45 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The Miami Herald
Thursday, October 12, 1995
MERI-JO BORZILLERI, Herald Sports Writer

Most pro athletes are notoriously uninformed about money matters. The economic irony: Those with the most money know the least about how to invest it - or how much tax need be paid.

Add Steffi Graf to the list. The troubling aspect is she didn't turn over her finances to some stranger. She entrusted them to her father.

Graf's case -- her father Peter is jailed and accused of setting up illegal tax shelters for his daughter's millions -- has grown into something bigger. It has triggered a call for a public investigation in Germany likely to include scrutiny of government officials who allegedly looked the other way as Peter hid income.

Reports this week said Graf might be arrested, but chances are she didn't know much.

"I don't think most players know where their money is," Chris Evert said this week. "But I don't know how you can ask a 17- or 18-year-old to take a crash course in investments and the stock market."

Graf is 26. Recently, she told a German weekly she would "bear more responsibility" in future financial decisions. She and Evert live in the same Boca Raton residential development. But they share more than that.

Evert's dad, Jimmy, handled all of Evert's money when she was playing. In fact, he still does -- even though Evert is 40 with a family of her own.

"When I came up and started earning money . . . some (athletes) like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had just lost a fortune," Evert said. "There were a couple of them. But I remember telling my dad, 'I know I don't need to tell you this, but just don't lose any of my money.'

"To this day, IMG looks at our folio and says it's the best one they've ever seen. Because my dad did it. He's been so conservative he's never lost me any money."

Peter Graf has been imprisoned since early August. Not even his offer of a $10 million bond was enough to sway the judge into releasing him. Steffi won the U.S. Open and sobbed afterward when asked about him. She has since gone back to Germany and has been allowed to visit her father.

Most players have agents who manage their money. Groups like IMG or Advantage take care of players' tax requirements and advise them on investments.

Some players move out of their home countries to avoid heavy taxes. Gabriela Sabatini maintains a home in Key Biscayne but lives most of the year in her native Argentina. Swede Stefan Edberg really lives in London. Boris Becker, who grew up in the next town over from Graf, moved to Monaco to avoid Germany's high tax rate -- 48 percent for an average worker.

The Grafs didn't move. A report says Peter bragged of cutting a deal with a government official instead.

"I don't think this is the norm," Evert said. "This is an isolated case."

Local women have two more chances to be in the spotlight. The Virginia Slims Legends Grassroots Challenge continues Oct. 28-29 and Nov. 4-5. Champions in the 3.5- and 4.5-level doubles events move to regional championships in Key Biscayne Nov. 18-19. Winners play in the nationals during Virginia Slims Legends weekend in Delray Beach Nov. 30-Dec. 3.

There, players get an all-expenses-paid weekend to play and watch legends like Evert, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King. In fact, the legend just might be watching them.

"I always want to watch them play," King said. "It's pretty exciting when they get to go to Delray Beach."

For more information on the grassroots challenge or the legends tournament, call (305) 491-7115.
Yesterday 04:45 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Maybe having a system in which politicians/bureaucrats need to authorize an investigation of politicians/bureaucrats is not exactly in the best interests of justice. Once the time frame of Peter's scheme was known (and it already was), it's fairly simple to look back through the records and see who held what office/position when all this was happening and start investigating from there.

Sports Digest
The Hamilton Spectator
Ontario, Canada
Thursday, October 12, 1995
From Spectator Wire Services




BONN -- (Reuter) The German government was asked yesterday to intervene in a tax scandal surrounding tennis star Steffi Graf.

The German regional state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, where Graf pays her taxes, said it had asked the Bonn finance minister to lift the tax secrecy laws to allow its parliament to discuss facts and figures about a probe into Graf's financial affairs.

Graf, whose father has been jailed since early August to prevent him fleeing or concealing evidence to support accusations that he and his daughter evaded millions of dollars in tax, had turned down a request to waive secrecy, the state said.

Yesterday 04:44 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

"Please play, Steffi! Pretty please!"

New sponsor found for women's tennis - Tennis
The Times
London, England
Thursday, October 12, 1995
Stuart Jones

THE Women's Tennis Association (WTA), amid attempts to unravel conflicting reports about whether or not Steffi Graf will play in the Brighton tournament next week, has gained a beneficiary. The tour, embracing almost 60 events in 20 countries, is to be sponsored by Corel.

The WTA has received no financial support since its contract with Kraft ended in acrimony two years ago. The new deal with the computer graphics company, a "multi-year and multimillion dollar" agreement, is to begin at the championships to mark the end of the season.

They will be held from November 6 to 13 in New York. It was there, a month ago, that Graf made her last appearance, in the final of the US Open. Rumours, emanating from Germany, that she had pulled out of Brighton were, at best, premature.
Yesterday 04:43 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

"We have no idea what their software does, but for $12 million, we will say whatever they want us to say!" Still LMAO at how the WTA gave the sponsor search job to the very entity that tried to take it over in 1994.

Corel Corp. logs on as WTA TOUR sponsor
Thursday, October 12, 1995
Doug Smith

The WTA TOUR signed a three-year, $12 million deal Wednesday, making Corel Corp. its worldwide sponsor. Women's tennis had been without a sponsor since Kraft left two years ago.

Corel is a Canada-based marketer of computer graphics and multimedia software.

"It's an important date in the history of women's tennis," said Anne Person Worcester, the tour's CEO. "Their objective is to build broad awareness of their product. Our tour, with 60 events in 22 countries, will help them do that."

Co-No. 1s Steffi Graf and Monica Seles endorse Corel's sponsorship.

"Many players travel on the tour with computers, and all of us will enjoy using Corel software," Graf said.

The tour will be renamed the COREL WTA TOUR at the season-ending WTA TOUR Championships Nov. 13-19 at Madison Square Garden.

Last February, the women's tour rejected a three-year, $10 million offer from Tambrands, manufacturer of feminine hygiene products, citing negative public reaction to the company's product line.

The WTA TOUR then signed a four-year, $16 million deal that allowed IMG, a Cleveland-based sports firm, to represent it in marketing and TV negotiation rights. IMG founder Mark McCormack's title sponsor search was made easier when Seles, the former world No. 1, ended a 28-month absence last August. McCormack, his wife, Betsy Nagelsen, and former pro Martina Navratilova helped convince Seles, who was stabbed in the back at a Hamburg, Germany, event April 30, 1993, to return.

Corel's offer was announced at the U.S. Open, a day before Seles met Graf in the women's final.
Yesterday 04:42 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Since when has the tennis world seen no point in speculating?!?

Edberg is philosophical in defeat - Tennis
The Independent
London, England
Thursday, October 12, 1995

After being beaten by a man who was only five years old when Stefan Edberg began his career, the Swede yesterday tried to console himself. "At least I'll have seven weeks off at the end of the year, which is the first time since 1982," said Edberg, who was beaten in 43 minutes, 6-0, 6-2, by Mark Philippoussis, of Australia, in the Super Seiko Tournament in Tokyo.

Edberg, the former world No 1, will have the time off because he has no chance of making the year-ending tournament in Frankfurt, Germany, which pits the world's top eight players against each other.

Edberg was philosophical about his defeat, saying he would soon forget about it. "I'm going to have some losses here and there," he said. "I'm going to have my good weeks."

The winner of six Grand Slam tournaments insists he will retire if he feels he can no longer win one of the majors, but acknowledges that bigger and stronger players make it harder all the time. "I used to be one of the big guys on the Tour. Now I'm somewhere in the middle," said the 6ft 2in Swede.

Philippoussis, 18, who lost to Edberg in the Australian Open in January, said that Edberg was still playing the same delicate serve and volley game, but the problem was that "tennis is getting a lot faster and more powerful.

"Maybe today Stefan didn't play as well or I didn't let him into the match," said Philippoussis, ranked 60th in the world in his first full year on the Tour.

"Everybody can play well when you're having a good day," Edberg said. "If you can play well when you're having a bad day, then you're a good player."

Meanwhile, Britain's Jeremy Bates slumped to a second-round defeat, despite winning the opening set against the sixth seed, Todd Martin. Bates twice broke his American opponent's serve in taking the first set 6-3. But Martin mixed serve and volley with well-placed passing shots to take the match 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Martin will now face Sweden's Henrik Holm, who overcame the No 12 seed, Mark Woodforde, of Australia, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6.

Steffi Graf, the Wimbledon champion, is still hoping to compete in next week's Brighton tournament - despite widespread reports that she has withdrawn because of back trouble. Graf, who shares the world No 1 ranking with Monica Seles, has been nursing a chronic back complaint for several months, and has not played since winning the US Open early last month.

But George Hendon, promoter of the Brighton event, said yesterday: "Reports that Steffi has withdrawn are completely unfounded. She wants to play because she has always enjoyed the Brighton tournament.

"Steffi had a rigorous workout in Germany today and may not decide until tomorrow whether she can play. She is probably waiting to see if there is any reaction after her practice session. If her back holds up she will definitely play, but until we hear from her, there is no point in speculating on the matter," Hendon said yesterday.

If Graf does drop out, it will be a tremendous blow to the tournament, which is being staged for the 18th and last time this year. The event is without a sponsor and was hoping for big crowds to watch the German player in action.

This year, despite her back problem, she has won three of the four Grand Slam titles - the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open - and has lost only one match, to the South African Amanda Coetzer, at the Canadian Open in August. But she bounced straight back to win the US Open, beating the newly returned Seles in the final.

More recently, she has been upset by her father, Peter - who is also her manager - being arrested and taken into custody in Germany for allegedly failing to report around pounds 22m of her earnings. Graf herself had to endure lengthy questioning from the German tax authorities last week.
Yesterday 04:40 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Originally Posted by djul14 View Post
Joey: Hey, Phoebs, do you wanna help?

Phoebe: Oh, I wish I could, but I don't want to.


I still use that Phoebe's answer today.

Am I the only one a little lost about the new version of the forum.
I'm not exactly sure how hiding most of a site's content is supposed to attract new users; IMO, the "Forums" button on the new-look main page should be a lot more prominant. And while the new-look "Full" version is fine on Android's Dolphin browser for copy-and-paste posts, it does not work for replying to a quoted message. I suppose I should go to the proper thread and tell them about the problem, but I don't want to. I'd rather have a discussion about why Blast From the Past is still waaay down the page in the "Misc." section.

At any rate, I just updated my bookmark to the "Forums" page, turned off the side bar in my accounts settings, and chose "Classic I" view from the drop-down menu at the bottom of the page, and all the Facebook-ifications went away. Yay!
Oct 11th, 2015 04:25 PM
djul14 Joey: Hey, Phoebs, do you wanna help?

Phoebe: Oh, I wish I could, but I don't want to.


I still use that Phoebe's answer today.

Am I the only one a little lost about the new version of the forum.
Oct 11th, 2015 03:09 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Mother of pearl, I'm not a millionaire and I don't know what I'm worth, if only for the simple fact that the value of certain investments, assets, and derivatives are quite volatile or have multiple interpretations or cannot be determined until one specific day of the year. Given how many English-language media outlets couldn't even convert Deutsche Marks to U.S. dollars correctly, I'd say a lot of reporters would have problems keeping track of their money if they ever had anything more complicated than simple checking/saving accounts and few certificate of deposit type things and a basic wage/salary form of income.

How can a millionaire not know what she's worth?
The Independent
London, England
Wednesday, October 11, 1995

James Baldwin, the American writer, once said that money was exactly like sex: you thought of little else if you didn't have it and thought of other things if you did. The comment, made before the era of sports multi-millionaires and rock 'n' roll hyperstars, appears particularly apt in the current performance arena. Today the best top-spin forehand has to be allied to a top "client financial services professional"; as the case of Sting's missing millions suggests, the best pop composer needs to be familiar with rhythm 'n' royalties, rock 'n' recession-proof investments.

In the music industry all of Britain's top 20 earners disclose annual incomes above pounds 1m. Four earn more than pounds 12m in any year. Elton John's rock'n bankroll earned him pounds 17.7m in the last money charts. Happenstance Ltd has one employee: Elton John. Since 1989 he has also been the sole employee of J Bondi Ltd, with other income from William A Bong Ltd. All indications are that since a well publicised fracas over royalties in the early part of his career, Mr John has taken on board the general wisdom once espoused by Spike Milligan: "Money," said the Goon, "can't buy friends, but it can buy you a better class of enemy."

Like musicians, the world's best sports stars are among the highest earners. Steffi Graf, Nigel Mansell, Andre Agassi, Eric Cantona, Nick Faldo and others all have the kind of incomes most countries' finance ministers would be happy to juggle with.

One leading sports management consultant says that "client financial services" would normally be offered to new recruits to the earnings super-league. The business-speak of the sports industry is now far from anything to be found in a sports dictionary. Talk is all financial planning, high net worth, loss leaders for potential new stars, contract negotiations. "Each client is different," says our consultant. "Some are not at all interested in business or finance. Some appear to care, but don't. Some know everything and prefer their finances managed separately."

But is money, dosh, filthy lucre the motivator? "No" is the stark reply. And is it possible, believable, that someone at the highest peak of their sport, cannot know what they are worth? "I could completely believe that was possible," he says.
Oct 11th, 2015 03:08 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Taken from information in the previously-mentioned discredited Der Spiegel article. Of course, "all-purpose nice-girl heroine" was never a correct description, so it's not really a big deal if people don't see her that way anymore. "Performance under pressure, dependability during crisis, grace amidst hardship" is much more valuable in the endorsement marketplace, anyway.

Double fault in the Graf empire
Steffi Graf, the model sportswoman, has been sucked into a tax investigation that has already engulfed her father. Could the unthinkable be true?

The Independent
London, England
Wednesday, October 11, 1995
Steve Crawshaw

She had always been the ultimate Miss Nice Girl. The millionaire from next door, with the slightly awkward smile. The Claudia Schiffer of the tennis world: mega-rich, mega-successful, and ever so respectable (if a tiny bit dull). Now she may end up behind bars, as a multi-million-pound crook.

As with her demurely curved compatriot, you cannot imagine Steffi Graf subscribing to the "Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere" subversive philosophy of life. Instead, once upon a time - until a few months ago - she was the respectable advertiser's dream. She was, in Der Spiegel's phrase, "the model sportswoman - clean, decent, wonderfully German". Her endorsements brought her millions every year, and presumably brought the advertisers (of pasta, cars and fruit juice, as well as the predictable sports products) even more.

Now the television advertising, showing the intelligent, independent Steffi beloved by all, has vanished from the screens. Her father, Peter, the power behind the throne, has been in custody for two months, accused of tax fraud on a grand scale. Steffi herself was questioned last week.

Peter Graf, variously described as "abrupt" and "megalomaniac", is no stranger to controversy. Five years ago, the flood of negative publicity over his affair with a nude model (an affair which resulted in his being blackmailed to the tune of DM800,000) severely strained relations with his daughter. But he remained the most important person in her professional life. He dominated Steffi the tennis player from the start: when she was four, he bribed her with strawberry ice-cream to hit the ball 100 times over the net. When she became a star, he was responsible for her business dealings.

Disastrously so, it now seems. The Graf clan is accused of tax evasion on a stunning scale. Tens of millions of marks-worth of prize and sponsorship money were funnelled out of sight of the German authorities. The crucial link in the chain, it is alleged, was a company in the Netherlands, Sunpark Sports BV. Sunpark consisted of little more than a posh address in Amsterdam, and a name plate. From here, the Graf money was said to have been siphoned off to a clutch of Grishamesque destinations, from Liechtenstein to the Dutch Antilles.

In order to help the money stay invisible, Mr Graf is reported to have been an enthusiast of business practices that can at best be described as unusual. The former used-car salesman - for whom, Der Spiegel suggested, "deception and disguise seemed to be the elixir of life" - regularly demanded huge payments in cash. Tournament organisers who failed to comply with Mr Graf's demands were liable to receive an earful of abuse. He ferried around hundreds of thousands of marks in cash "like a drug courier", as one irritable tournament organiser put it. Those who failed to co-operate were told that Steffi would pack her bags right now, or would "never again play for Germany".

Even now, few Germans are inclined to believe that Steffi Graf was at the heart of the deals that were struck on her behalf. Equally, though, many find it difficult to accept that there can have been an entirely blue-eyed innocence.

The cast of the drama is growing all the time. Already behind bars are not only Mr Graf, but also the family's main tax adviser, Joachim Eckardt, who was arrested this month. Another leading adviser now in the limelight is Philip de Picciotto, managing director of Advantage International, the American agency that handles Graf's worldwide sponsorship. Focus magazine this week chose to emphasise (in a separate panel) the fact that the American Mr de Picciotto is Lebanese-born; his family is said to have been "the most important Jewish family in the Syrian town of Aleppo". In short: Seriously Foreign.

Not encouraging for those who seek to believe that German virtue is intact is the fact that some of the tax dodges appear to have taken place with the complicity of the authorities themselves.

Steffi Graf has always been proud to describe herself as coming from Bruhl, near the historic university town of Heidelberg, in south-west Germany. And Bruhl has always been proud of its most illustrious daughter. There was a civic reception for Steffi Graf after this year's Wimbledon triumph - a triumph which had become almost routine. Graf has been the Wimbledon singles champion in all but two of the past eight years.

Nobody had ever doubted that Steffi is very rich. Multi-million properties are scattered about Florida, New York, and Germany, as part of what became known as "the Steffi Empire". She recently bought a penthouse apartment in Heidelberg, for herself and her boyfriend, Michael Barthels, in addition to her properties in nearby Bruhl. She also owns supermarkets across Germany. But she was seen, too, as a decent and unpretentious kind of millionaire.

The patriotic decency extended, at least in theory, to Graf's tax return. Other successful sportsmen and assorted members of the super-rich classes often settled in Monaco or elsewhere. But Steffi seemed determined to pay her taxes at home, like the conscientious, upright citizen that her public persona proclaimed her to be. Asked if Steffi might not follow in the footsteps of Boris Becker and others to Monte Carlo, Mr Graf said: "Quite clearly, the answer is no."

Which did not, it now becomes clear, mean that the Grafs intended to pay the whole whack. In Germany, it is the regional governments that levy taxes. Peter Graf and the family advisers concluded some remarkable deals with the authorities in the south-western state of Baden-Wurttemberg. Baden-Wurttemberg is known in Germany as the Musterlandle, the "little model state", because everything allegedly works so perfectly there. Including, it seems, tax evasion.

In Stuttgart, capital of Baden-Wurttemberg and home city of Mercedes-Benz, the Grafs' representatives held high-level meetings with finance ministry officials. A discreet bargain was struck in December 1993, which enabled Steffi to avoid paying tax on much of her multi-million income for the years 1989 to 1992. It seems certain that this agreement will play a key role in the Graf defence, if or when the case finally comes to court. In effect, the tax dodges may originally have been blessed from on high - "legalised tax fraud", in the words of one headline.

Baden-Wurttemberg's finance minister (and former sports minister), Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder, has been desperate to reject allegations that he helped to make it possible for the Grafs to wipe large chunks of their income off the record. But, on the face of it, that is just what the 1993 agreement allows.

In the words of the weekly Die Woche, "It sounds absolutely unbelievable. Clearly, there are taxpayers who are spared the problem [of proving their income and expenses]. For several years, these people simply fail to make a tax declaration, and then they reach an agreement with their tax office - which takes no account of how large their expenses really are, and whether they can be proved."

Mr Graf, reportedly, had always boasted that he would never have a problem with his taxes, because he had protection "from the very top". Der Spiegel this week published a remarkable internal memo, written in 1988 by an executive at Adidas, one of Graf's sponsors. The memo describes how Horst Dassler, the then Adidas boss, had offered to help Graf become a Swiss resident, for tax purposes. "Peter Graf refused this offer, because Steffi wanted to stay in Germany - and Lothar Spath had in any case offered a political solution."

Mr Spath, the former prime minister of Baden-Wurttemberg, denies that any deal was done. Already, however, the issue threatens to be political dynamite, in advance of regional elections in Baden-Wurttemberg next year. According to Stern magazine, one of Graf's tax lawyers dropped broad hints that Graf would leave Germany if a suitable accommodation could not be reached. The implication was clear. That a defection abroad could look bad politically and would be bad for the taxman's coffers too. A parliamentary committee may be formed to investigate.

Meanwhile, Mr Mayer-Vorfelder even issued a mini-questionnaire, from his office in the finance ministry, on the Graf affair. He asked his officials whether they had ever felt under pressure to be "obedient", or if they had felt influenced by himself or his predecessor, on giving a lenient assessment. Absolutely not, came back the replies. Perish the thought. In the words of Der Spiegel, the replies provided "40 Persil certificates for the minister" - a reference to the colloquial name for the priceless scraps of paper that were issued in 1945 to those who could show ("Persil washes whiter") that they had not been involved with the Nazis.

But it is still the tennis champion herself who is most obviously in the spotlight. Steffi's grilling last week lasted seven hours (with a long lunchbreak). Until now, she has denied all knowledge of the to-ings and fro-ings of her own funds. And yet the idea that the 26-year-old Graf never understood what she was signing her name to strains the credulity of some of the investigators. Officials suggest that she is "not yet" under threat of arrest. That could still change.

Even now, it still seems improbable that Steffi Graf will go behind bars. But she will never be the same Steffi again. Nor, presumably, will the advertising contracts flood in, as they used to. "Made in Germany" - the upbeat Opel slogan, which was also used in connection with Steffi Graf - sounds more ambiguous than it used to. The all-purpose nice-girl heroine will never be quite so nice-girl heroic again.
Oct 11th, 2015 03:06 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Of course the WTA would support Steffi during this difficult time -- because Steffi was the only product they had to offer! They couldn't even resort to the "If only Monica would return!" refrain.

And of course CBS would move the women's final to Sunday along with the men's -- because they had lost their NFL contract and they needed a Super Sunday instead of a Super Saturday.

Graf probably will skip events until November
Houston Chronicle
Wednesday, October 11, 1995
Houston Chronicle News Services

FRANKFURT, Germany - Steffi Graf, under investigation for tax evasion, has dropped out of the Brighton tournament this month and is unlikely to play again until Philadelphia in November, her lawyer said Tuesday

Graf, who shares the No. 1 ranking with Monica Seles, took a late wild card for the Oct. 17-22 Brighton International Championships, which she has won six times, but then decided to return it.

"I don't think that she will play again until Philadelphia in early November," her lawyer Peter Danckert told the German sports news agency SID.

The Philadelphia tournament starts Nov. 6.

Graf, 26, has not played since beating Seles in the U.S. Open final last month. She has said she will reduce her tournament schedule because of her chronic back condition.

Graf's father and manager, Peter Graf, is in custody for allegedly failing to report $35.2 million of her earnings over several years. Steffi Graf underwent lengthy questioning last week.

Prosecutors denied Monday press reports that Graf faced arrest.

Danckert, her lawyer, told SID he expected the case against his client to be dropped soon.

Danckert declined to comment on reports that Steffi Graf's signatures on her tax statements came from a computer used for signing autograph cards. The report was broadcast by South German radio Tuesday.

After reports that Graf's longtime sponsor, Adam Opel AG, the German subsidiary of General Motors, will not renew its contract when it expires at the end of the year, German media speculated that a second major sponsor, the sporting goods maker adidas, also might cease its cooperation with Graf.

But the WTA issued a statement in Stamford, Conn., in which it said the WTA Tour "fully supports Steffi during this difficult time."

CBS, Open agree - CBS Sports, which has televised the U.S. Open for the past 27 years, has reached a new five-year agreement with the United States Tennis Association that will keep America's biggest tennis tournament on the network until the year 2000.

As part of the new agreement, CBS will broadcast the men's and women's singles finals of the Grand Slam event on the last Sunday of competition. Previously, the women's finals were televised Saturday; the men's title match was seen Sunday

Seles says she'll play Fed Cup, has eye on Olympics - Monica Seles said Tuesday she will play singles -- and maybe doubles -- for the United States team in the Fed Cup final against Spain, Nov. 25-26.

Seles appeared on a Sarasota public-access television show "Fundamentally Sound Tennis" on Tuesday night. Prior to the broadcast, Seles said she had accepted the invitation of U.S. captain Billie Jean King. Seles recently was named to the U.S. "preliminary team." along with six others: Martina Navratilova, Gigi Fernandez, Lindsay Davenport, Amy Frazier, Chanda Rubin and Mary Joe Fernandez. Seles said all seven players will go to Spain.

Seles also said she plans on representing the United States in next year's Atlanta Olympics.

"Those opening ceremonies ... no way am I going to miss that," she said.
Oct 11th, 2015 03:05 PM
Ms. Anthropic
Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Joey: Hey, Phoebs, do you wanna help?

Phoebe: Oh, I wish I could, but I don't want to.

----Friends, "The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate," David Crane and Marta Kauffman, Warner Bros. Television, Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, NBC, September 22, 1994

LOLing at ASV and Seles being "unavailable" to step in for Graf at Brighton to meet the field commitment. Let's see, in this episode titled "The One Where Monica Gets a Special Ranking," the WTA threw Arantxa under the bus with the No. 1 co-ranking deal, and they gave Monica that same No. 1 co-ranking deal with no strings attached, no gradually increasing divisor, no option for a six-month review or revision, no incentive to be a "team player." When the other players, especially Steffi, were balking at Navratilova's proposal for handling Seles' ranking after the first six months, this was exactly the kind of thing they knew could happen. And just four months later, it did -- surprise, surprise!

Graf misses Brighton tournament in wake of tax inquiry - Tennis
The Times
London, England
Wednesday, October 11, 1995

STEFFI GRAF, who has been questioned over her father's imprisonment in Germany for alleged tax evasion, has withdrawn from the Brighton international tennis tournament next week and is unlikely to play competitively again before November.

Graf, who is ranked joint-No1 in the world with Monica Seles, was given a late wild card to the tournament, which begins next Tuesday and which she has won six times, but the top seed then decided to return the invitation.

''I don't think that she will play again until Philadelphia in early November," Peter Danckert, Graf's lawyer, told a German sports news agency. The event in Philadelphia starts on November 6.

Graf, 26, has not played since beating Seles in the final of the United States Open championships in New York last month. She has said that she will reduce her tournament schedule because of a chronic back condition.

Peter Graf, her father and manager, is in custody for allegedly failing to report $35.2 million (about Pounds 23 million) of her earnings over several years. Graf was questioned at length by investigators last week.

Prosecutors have denied reports that Graf faces arrest and Danckert said that he expected the case against his client to be dropped soon. ''I am convinced that the proceedings against Steffi will be stopped by the end of the year," he said yesterday.

George Hendon, the tournament director, had asked the Women's Tennis Association for an adequate replacement to be summoned even before Graf's withdrawal. He had requested that Monica Seles and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario be put on stand-by.

The odds on them appearing, however, are negligible. Seles has been told by medical advisers to rest her damaged knee for at least another fortnight and Sanchez Vicario, complaining of fatigue, is away ''somewhere" on an extended holiday.
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