Scot Young and the $4.5 billion Post-It note: Court hears of bankrupt tycoon's Facebook 'profit' in high-profile divorce case

 

A hand-written note seized from the home of the bankrupt tycoon at the centre of Britain’s most high-profile divorce suggested he made “$4.5 billion profit” in Facebook, the High Court heard on Monday.

A financial investigator told the court that documents recovered from Scot Young, a property and telecoms magnate who claims he lost a vast fortune just as his marriage collapsed, suggest the 51-year-old is still very wealthy.

Burke Files, who specialises in asset recovery and claims Mr Young is still worth at least £700 million, said he had seen a handwritten note by the businessman that was seized when his estranged wife Michelle obtained a court order to search his central London hotel room last year.

He said: “I have seen a Post-It note talking about a $4.5 billion profit in Facebook.”

Mr Young, who was jailed earlier this year for failing to explain the mysterious disappearance of his vast empire - which included a multimillion pound property empire - claims he is penniless and unable to support his wife and two daughters.

Mr Files said it would have been a “tremendous leap to add (the Facebook value) to his assets, but once again, there is no disclosure, no support to his representations”.

Mr Young’s high-profile friends, including billionaire Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, are due to give evidence later in the four-week trial.

However, some of them were mentioned on Monday when Mr Files read out an email written by a man called Chris Dunhill, dated October 2011, that said Scot Young was a “good friend of (Simon) Cowell, (Sir Philip) Green and (Boris) Berezovski (sic).”

Later, it referred to a man called George Constantine who Mr Dunhill claims “looks after Scot’s properties which of course he doesn’t have technically anymore”.

Mr Files said the email “goes to the foundation of the incongruities” he dealt with in coming to the conclusion that Mr Young was still a very wealthy man.

Later in his evidence, the anti-money laundering specialist gave a complex explanation of how he believed Mr Young, who went bankrupt in 2010 owing creditors £28 million, had “restructured his empire”.

He said there were multiple “debt foreclosures on assets” which then “circulated again and again” but that the “beneficial owner never changed”. He added: “The money just disappeared into the structures.”

Mr Files told the court that one of Mr Young’s companies had an “open and active bank account in 2011” – 18 months after the tycoon was declared bankrupt and two years after the company was liquidated.

The American investigator said: “That hit me like a dead cat buying groceries. It suggests that he is using that bank account to secrete money from his creditors.”

Under cross-examination, Mr Young asked Mr Files if he agreed with his claim that Bank of Scotland (HBOS) had repossessed all his properties. Mr Files replied: “No I don’t agree at all.”

Mr Young then turned to the judge and denied he was “in cahoots” with the bank, which was bailed out with £20 billion of taxpayers’ money in 2008.

Later, Mr Files was asked about a £6 million beachfront property Mr Young had purchased in Miami, Florida, which the tycoon claimed had been repossessed by HBOS.

Mr Files replied: “That is not correct.” He then said the “amount that was not paid to the Bank of Scotland was routed through an American law firm” to the “Poju Zabludowicz Trust” and “£750,000 was paid back to Mr Young”.

Mr Zabludowicz is a Finnish-born industrialist and one of the richest men in Britain, with an estimated fortune of £1.5 billion.  The court also heard he was Mr Young’s business partner in Dione, a chip-and-pin technology venture.

Mr Files then read out an email from a lawyer at Mr Young’s business law firm Fox Williams: “Scot Young says that he no longer has a requirement for offshore tax planning as he would use vehicles already set up by Poju Zabludowicz.” Mr Files told the court: “They have both profited very nicely.”

Mr Justice Moor asked Mr Files if he had seen evidence that business law firm Fox Williams was “holding assets for (Mr Young) in offshore entities”.

Mr Files replied: “Correct. And then in the year that he is supposed to have lost everything they are conducting tax-planning for him.”

Mr Justice Moor replied: “Ah, but that could only happen if the creditors are engineered?” Mr Files replied: “Yes, sir.”

Later in the day, the court heard from Scot Young’s current girlfriend Noelle Reno, who denied acting as a “cash courier” for the tycoon.

Rex Howling QC, acting for Ms Young, said Ms Reno was observed by private investigators withdrawing £25,000 in cash from her own bank account in July 2011 and handed it to her boyfriend, who appeared to be in an “agitated state”.

Ms Reno replied: “I’m being persecuted for helping somebody. I don’t want to be dragged into this.”

The court also heard of a note written to Mr Young by her brother “Chip” that was recovered from her flat during another court-approved raid that read: “Thank you for picking up all the cheques, cab rides, bar tabs and everything else.”

Ms Reno said her brother was only talking of “a couple of hundred pounds”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
football
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us