Apple TV+’s ‘Boom! Boom! The World vs. Boris Becker’ unfolds the many ups and downs in the life of Boris Becker. On the tennis court, he establishes himself as one of the best players in the game. Off the court, however, things always seem to go haywire for him. In the second part of the documentary, we discover that Becker has landed himself in catastrophic financial trouble. He is forced to declare himself bankrupt, but things get worse the law starts looking into his finances.
In the midst of this dark time, Becker finds a ray of hope when he gets the chance to exercise diplomatic immunity. In this process, he comes across a man named Stephan Welk. However, instead of making things better for Becker, a new Pandora’s Box is opened when it is revealed that many shady deals have been happening, similar to what Becker got himself into. If you want to know more about Stephan Welk and Becker’s passport situation, here’s what you need to know.
Who is Stephan Welk?
As per his LinkedIn profile, Stephan Welk is a “diplomat and internationally active in government consulting. He is a Professor of International Law and Diplomacy and a Special Advisor to various governments.” Welk is currently employed as a Special Advisor of the Minister in São Tomé und Príncipe. He is also said to have been involved with the Central African Republic in a diplomatic capacity. It is also reported that he has received the Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Lion of Rwanda.
Welk’s name came into the muddy waters when Boris Becker revealed that he had been made a diplomatic attaché for the Central African Republic’s sports, culture, and humanitarian affairs. A tweet from Welk’s account was made with a picture of Welk and Becker in front of the embassy. This was a surprising turn for Becker, who was amidst a bankruptcy trial in court. If he was made a diplomat, he could claim diplomatic immunity, be saved from the trial, and be prevented from going to jail.
Welk’s name was attached to Becker because it was he who reportedly got the former tennis player his passport. However, when the passport was examined, it turned out to be fake. The serial number on the passport was said to have belonged to a series that was stolen a long time ago and was believed to have been sold in the black market. And that’s what raised suspicion towards Welk. Why did he get a fake passport for Becker?
Where is Stephan Welk Now?
From what we can tell, Stephan Welk likely resides in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as the Special Advisor in Diplomatic Affairs. The details of his personal life are unknown due to the lack of social media presence. As per news reports, Stephan Welk and two other suspects were brought into custody by the Berlin police on August 30, 2019, regarding Becker’s fake passport.
Welcome to your diplomatic office pic.twitter.com/TsKdizCT0k
— Stephan Welk (@StephanWelk) April 30, 2018
After Becker’s debacle, it came to light that a whole thing with fake passports and people getting them to evade the law was being carried out in the shadows. The authorities held six other suspects to get to the root of the problem. Over some time, they noticed that a pattern was emerging where people with a questionable relationship with the law were surfacing with diplomatic passports, giving them immunity from being held accountable for their crimes.
The passports would generally be from obscure countries with scarce resources. Welk was suspected of belonging to the group supplying such passports to people for a good sum of money. According to Der Speigel, this is not Welk’s first altercation with the law. Reportedly, he was sentenced to four years in prison for fraudulent real-estate transactions, among other things, in 2003.
Welk’s second alleged infringing of law occurred in 2009 when he was sent to prison again for “ fraud, a delayed insolvency filing, the forgery of documents and attempted embezzlement and breach of trust.” Welk was also suspected of being with the group that defrauded a meat wholesaler out of more than one million in return for a diplomatic ID and of gaining access to the market of Guinea-Bissau.
It is unclear where the investigation led the police and whether anyone was held accountable. As for Welk, there is no more news about him following the detainment. Meanwhile, Becker is said to have broken his ties with Welk. The diplomat’s lawyer claims that his client had no idea the passport was fake and that he had been used. While Becker received his sentence, spent time in prison, and got out of there, the news about the fate of Stephan Welk has grown scarce.