The Mail on Sunday
Oligarch aide’s cash for wife in £400m divorce
A RUSSIAN banker with close ties to billionaire oligarch Boris Berezovsky is the latest wealthy businessman to be linked to one of Britain’s most expensive divorce battles.
Russlan Fomichev, a financial aide to Mr Berezovsky, is said to have given a secret cash payment – delivered in a spy-style street ‘drop’ – to Michelle Young, who is at the centre of a bitter £400million split from her property developer husband Scott.
The fresh claim, in High Court documents, follows revelations that British businessmen, including billionaire clothing retailer Sir Philip Green and restaurateur Richard Caring, have given more than £1.2 million towards the divorce costs.
Mr Berezovsky is a friend of Mr Young and bought the couple’s Wentworth Park estate in Surrey for £20.5million in 2000.
His business ventures with Mr Fomichev and Mr Young include a failed property deal called Project Moscow. Mrs Young claims, in the High Court documents, that her husband has hidden a fortune in offshore accounts and in others’ names.
Mrs Young, 45, described how she was told by her husband in 2006 to meet Mr Fomichev, who would give her £10,000 towards her living expenses.
She said: ‘He said that I should go to Davies Street in Mayfair and wait outside the Toni & Guy hairdressing salon . . .a man drove up in a Porsche and stepped out. I recognised him from a photograph I had seen of him and Scott and knew that he had worked with a solicitor called Stephen Curtis in the sale of our Wentworth Park estate.
‘He asked if I was Michelle ... then he handed me an envelope stuffed with banknotes.
‘He did look a little embarrassed. He got back in his car and drove away.’
She said she had been surprised that the Fomichev transaction had been carried out like ‘something from a spy movie’.
But she said she had no option but to go along with it after being left virtually destitute when her husband allegedly abandoned her and their two teenage daughters, Sasha and Scarlett.
Mr Young alleges that his vast business empire collapsed in 2006 due to the credit crunch, leaving him penniless and pursued for £27million by creditors.
Since the couple separated in 2006, his wife has allegedly received more than £1 million from her husband’s friends towards living expenses and school fees.
Mrs Young said her husband stopped paying maintenance in 2008 after she found information on laptops showing some of his assets. A retired senior Scotland Yard detective, who has been helping Mrs Young, said he believed that there had been a deliberate attempt by Mr Young to hide assets.