BARCELONA, Spain — Former Spanish tennis great Arantxa Sánchez Vicario told a court Tuesday at the start of a fraud trial that she had trusted her then-husband to handle her money and she was not aware of any illegal tampering with her family assets.
Sánchez Vicario, 51, and her former husband Josep Santacana stand accused of hiding assets to avoid paying a $8.14 million debt to Banque de Luxembourg, including interest, according to the prosecutor.
The two, who divorced in 2019, deny the charges. They could face up to four years in prison if convicted and be liable for millions of euros in compensation.
“I did what he told me to do, because I am a tennis player, I have no knowledge of assets or companies or anything. I trusted my husband,” she told the court in Barcelona, sobbing at times.
She said she only became aware of the seriousness of the situation later and confronted her husband, who “acknowledged the facts.” She told the court she had already paid around $2.04 million to the bank and committed to paying half of her income.
Sánchez Vicario was the first Spanish player to reach the top of women’s tennis rankings. She won the French Open three times and the US Open before retiring in 2002.