R327m a joke – estranged wife
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