R327m a joke – es­tranged wife

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

LON­DON: The es­tranged wife of a ty­coon yes­ter­day re­acted fu­ri­ously to a court or­der that he pay her a lump sum of £20 mil­lion (R327m) in one of Bri­tain’s most bit­ter and pub­lic di­vorce cases.

“It’s dis­grace­ful. I stand by what I said. He’s worth bil­lions,” Michelle Young said af­ter a High Court judge ruled that her hus­band Scot, a prop­erty de­vel­oper, was worth £40m.

Scot Young, 51, and his 49-yearold wife have fought a long bat­tle over money, of­ten in the pages of news­pa­pers.

Michelle Young claims that her hus­band has hid­den “a vast for­tune” and that she was a vic­tim of “fraud” be­cause he had ma­nip­u­lated his busi­ness af­fairs to look poorer than he is.

Scot Young, who is a friend of X Fac­tor cre­ator Si­mon Cow­ell, in­sists he is bank­rupt and has debts amount­ing to £28m fol­low­ing the col­lapse of a real-es­tate deal.

In Jan­uary, a judge found the ty­coon in con­tempt of court for fail­ing to pro­vide fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion to his wife in the run-up to the le­gal pro­ceed­ings.

The Youngs, who live in Lon­don and have two daugh­ters, sep­a­rated in 2006 af­ter start­ing a re­la­tion­ship in 1989.

The court bat­tle has re­vealed the cou­ple’s ex­trav­a­gant life­style when they were mar­ried.

Scot Young would splash out up to £5 000 on a sin­gle visit to a restau­rant and the cou­ple took up to four for­eign hol­i­days a year, of­ten stay­ing in lav­ish vil­las and pres­i­den­tial suites.

A lawyer rep­re­sent­ing Michelle Young told the court she had run up a le­gal bill of £1.6m fight­ing for a “fair share” of her es­tranged hus­band’s wealth.

Judge Philip Moor said the case had been “quite ex­tra­or­di­nary even by the stan­dards of the most bit­ter of mat­ri­mo­nial break­downs”.

“Ex­tremely se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions have been bandied around like con­fetti. Some of th­ese al­le­ga­tions can only be de­scribed as wild,” he added.

He also said he was “highly crit­i­cal” of the way the case had been con­ducted “at var­i­ous times by both par­ties”. – Sapa-AFP

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