Topshop boss Sir Philip Green ‘lent tycoon friend Scot Young £80,000 to help pay his rent’

Michelle Young claims her husband has squirrelled away 'a few billion at least' in offshore tax havens around the world

Investigations reporter

One of Britain’s most powerful businessman has denied sheltering money belonging to a bankrupt tycoon at the centre of Britain’s most high-profile divorce battle, the High Court heard.

Sir Philip Green, the billionaire owner of Topshop, said he had never “secreted monies away from the prying eyes of the court” on behalf of his friend Scot Young, who claims he is penniless and unable to provide for his wife and two daughters.

A former adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, Sir Philip told the court he had lent Mr Young £80,000 in 2008 to cover the rent of a property in Regents Park Terrace, London, where his estranged wife was living after they separated.

Michelle Young, 49, claims her husband has squirrelled “a few billion at least” in offshore tax havens around the world and has waged a bitter, seven-year battle to uncover his alleged fortune.

She has previously claimed that gifts from Mr Young’s friends and business associates are, in fact, a “conduit for his secreted wealth”.

In a statement to the High Court, Sir Philip said: “Scot explained his financial position to me and explained the problems he was having. He asked me if I could help which I agreed to do.”

As he walked out of the courtroom, the retail magnate threw a cheque onto the desk of Mrs Young's barrister, Rex Howling QC, saying “give this back to your client”.

It is understood the £50 cheque had been paid to cover Sir Philip's travel expenses after she issued him with a witness summons.

The court also heard from another friend of Mr Young, restaurateur Richard Caring, who owns The Ivy, Annabelle’s and Soho House.

The 61-year-old said he lent the property and telecoms magnate £50,000 in 2009 because he wanted to help.

“I said I would lend him the money on the basis that if there was a time that he could repay it, that would be great, if there wasn't, there wasn't,” he told the court.

Mr Young, who is representing himself, claims he suffered a financial “meltdown” just as his marriage was imploding in March 2006.

He was declared bankrupt in 2010 but the court has previously heard claims from an American asset tracer that the tycoon is worth around £700 million.

Mr Young was jailed earlier this year for repeatedly failing to comply with court orders asking him to prove the mysterious disappearance of his wealth.

The High Court also heard “very important” evidence from Mr Young’s banker Willie Raeburn, a senior official at Lloyds Banking Group.

The Scot confirmed one of his colleagues, Alastair Kennedy, had seen millions of pounds in share certificates belonging to Mr Young when he visited the office of the tycoon’s former lawyer Stanley Beller in 2006.

Mr Young stands accused of stealing £13 million in share certificates from Mr Beller’s safe shortly after that date, which later caused his lawyer to be struck off.

Mr Young has denied the theft and says he cannot prove what happened to the money as it belonged to Mr Beller.

Mr Raeburn said Mr Young’s assets held by the lawyer had been used to guarantee a “bridging loan” to the tycoon on a £6 million beachfront property in Miami.

He said: “Mr Kennedy told me that he had seen the share certificates.”

Later in the day, the court also heard from Michael Slater, a corporate lawyer linked to Mr Young, who has repeatedly denied ever acting for the tycoon.

However, he was asked about ledger accounts from Mr Young’s corporate lawyers that showed his own firm, Butcher Burns, was paid £7.25 million.

Mr Slater, who admitted handing Mr Young £5,000 in cash on behalf of a client, replied: “I have no idea.”

He also said he could not explain why £103,000 was transferred to his own company, Nicholson Slater Ltd, from Mr Young’s personal bank account in 2003. “I have no idea. It was 10 years ago,” he replied.

The hearing continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence