The Central African Republic has said that a diplomatic passport that tennis star Boris Becker claims entitles him to immunity in bankruptcy proceedings in Britain "is a fake."
"The diplomatic passport that he has is a fake," foreign ministry chief of staff Cherubin Moroubama told AFP.
The document's serial number corresponded to one of a batch of "new passports that were stolen in 2014," he said.
In addition, the passport - a copy of which has been seen by AFP, and bears the date 19 March 2018 - does not carry the signature or the stamp of the foreign minister, Charles Armel Doubane, Mr Moroubama said.
Last Friday, lawyers for Germany's three-time Wimbledon champion lodged a claim in the High Court in Britain saying that he had been appointed a sports attache for the CAR to the European Union in April.
This, they argued, granted him immunity under the 1961 Vienna Diplomatic Convention on Diplomatic Relations from bankruptcy proceedings over failure to pay a long-standing debt.
"Becker's job profile does not exist" in the CAR's records, Mr Moroubama said.
Furthermore, the passport says that Mr Becker's diplomatic function is "financial charge de mission," a role that "has nothing to do with sporting questions," he noted.
H.E President Prof. Faustin Archange Touadéra in Brussels yesterday appointing me as its Attache’ for Sports/Humanitarian/Cultural Affaires in the European Union 🇪🇺 pic.twitter.com/ACp3sDynQn— Boris Becker (@TheBorisBecker) April 27, 2018
In April, the 50-year-old former tennis star had tweeted a picture of himself shaking hands with CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera at a meeting in Brussels.
Meanwhile, Boris Becker has said he intends to fly to the Central African Republic soon to discuss the controversy over his diplomatic status.
Mr Becker was made the comments in an interview in German with Top Magazin which was posted on YouTube.
"I got the passport from the embassy in April", he said in the interview, "I can't say more on the subject".
"I haven't been to [the CAR capital] Bangui in the last number of weeks, I have been busy with other matters, tennis, for example.
"I intend to fly to Bangui soon and discuss this with the gentlemen there."
Mr Becker shook up the tennis world at Wimbledon in 1985 when, as an unseeded player, he became the then youngest-ever male Grand Slam champion at the age of 17, defending the trophy the following year.
The German went on to enjoy a glittering career and amassed more than €21.65 million euros in prize money.