Tycoon denies hiding multimillion pound deals

Tom Harper

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The Independent Online

Scot Young, the bankrupt tycoon embroiled in Britain's most bitter divorce, was involved in deals worth "hundreds of millions of pounds" with Sir Philip Green, Sir Tom Hunter and Richard Caring, the High Court heard today.

Kevin Cash, a close friend of Scot Young - a telecoms and property magnate who claims to have lost a vast fortune just as his marriage collapsed - swore an affidavit in 2007 claiming the businessman benefited from a variety of lucrative ventures with several well-known industrialists.

Mr Young, who has failed to disclose multiple such deals to the court, claimed he was only involved in one venture with any of the men - a £100 million project called "EU Smart" with Sir Philip Green, the billionaire owner of Topshop, and Sir Tom Hunter, a property investor.

The 51-year-old was also questioned over his links to the deceased Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky - and admitted he was involved in one "politically-sensitive" attempt to support a political party in Ukraine.

Mr Young said: "He was funding one of the runners for the presidency to the Ukraine and if he was successful, he would introduce me to a lot of people in the Ukraine to do business."

The court was told that the tycoon "hid" in Germany for 18 months soon after he claims to have lost all his money in 2006.

Mr Young claimed his lifestyle in Berlin cost £300,000 and was funded by Mr Cash, whom he once gifted a Ferrari, through a man called Richard Kay.

Rex Howling QC, acting for his estranged wife Michelle Young, asked the businessman if he was in Germany setting up a branch of Soho House with Richard Caring, the owner of The Ivy and Annabel's in London.

Mr Young said: "I had absolutely nothing to do with this."

The court also heard that multiple companies and assets beneficially owned by Mr Young were transferred to other friends around the time he claims he lost all his money in March 2006.

Lawyers for Ms Young, who claims her bankrupt husband has squirrelled away "a few billion at least" in offshore tax havens and has committed a "fraud" on the marital estate, revealed many of the entities were transferred back to Mr Young's "right hand man" and serial "nominee shareholder" Gwilym Davies, an ex-banker, in 2007.

He asked Mr Young: "It is starting to smell a little bit, isn't it?" The tycoon replied: "I can't remember what happened, you will have to ask Mr Davies."

The tycoon admitted holding interests in several companies that he had never previously disclosed - and was also asked about a file called "Project Marriage Walk" registered in a ledger held on his behalf by business law firm Fox Williams.

Mr Young said he did not know what it was, and told Mr Howling QC to ask the firm's senior partner Paul Osborne, who is due to give evidence later in the hearing.

Mr Young also revealed a friend called Nick Alexander paid his £4,000-a-month rent on a flat in central London and admitted receiving tens of thousands of pounds in cash from other acquaintances to support his party lifestyle.

He admitted he did not pass any of the money on to his estranged wife and two daughters because his friends "did not want" him to, and also because he "very much liked living in the West End".

The case continues.