Tomas Berdych won an apology from the public Czech News Agency (CTK) for wrongly naming him as one of the nearly 300 Czechs implicated in the Panama Papers. The Panama Papers are a leaked set of 11.5 million confidential documents containing detailed information regarding more than 214,000 offshore companies used by wealthy individuals to evade taxes.
On Saturday, the CTK apologized to the Czech tennis star, writing: “We hereby apologise to Mr. Tomas Berdych for having falsely reported in a story issues on April 4, 2016 that his name appears in the Panama Papers database.”
Berdych quickly tweeted the apology out to his 275,000 followers with the caption: “Truth prevails”
He also took to his Facebook account to post an English translation of an interview he did with the Czech website iDNES.cz. In the interview, Berdych details why he believes his name was accidentally a part of it. The 30-year-old said he is connected to the scandal through Petr Skopal, whose name appeared in the Panama Papers. Skopal is the chief executive of a network of solar power plants and Berdych owns 50 percent of the shares of one of them — FVE Lužany.
Despite this connection to Skopal, Berdych maintains that just because he knows the person, doesn’t mean they share any common assets. Berdych, clearly adamant about his innocence, goes as far to say: “If, for example, I co-owned something with a murderer does not mean that I killed someone, too.”
Whoa. From offshore accounts to murder, that escalated very quickly.
Berdych was noticeably fast to act on this disruptive news and diffuse the situation before it gained any traction. This was the right move on Berdych’s behalf, considering being implicated in the Panama Papers has led to Iceland’s Prime Minister resigning and other powerful politicians scrambling.
Berdych was also most likely keen to maintain the dignity of his beloved sport, especially after the massive Maria Sharapova doping scandal that significantly tainted tennis’ clean image.
Perhaps if the Sharapova incident hadn’t occurred just a month prior, Berdych wouldn’t have been so vocal about disproving any claims of illegal activity. He surely had to notice the massive consequences that followed Sharapova’s announcement, which included her being indefinitely suspended from playing tennis and her major sponsors, Nike and Tag Heuer, suspending its contracts with her.
While Berdych may not be as wealthy as Sharapova, he has made a cool $24, 408, 704 in prize money throughout his illustrious 14-year long career. He’s enjoyed a comfortable and consistent career, spending six straight years in the top 10 and winning 12 titles. Recently, Birdman left H&M after three years of wearing it’s ridiculous clothes to become Adidas’ top tennis star.
Let’s not forget that Berdych lives in Monte Carlo, where there is no income tax. Due to this, it seems highly unlikely that he would turn to Panama to hide his money from being taxed.
Evidently, the Czech has more than 24 million already untaxed reasons why he isn’t a part of the Panama Papers.