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.

News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer was final surviving member of seminal punk band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Sport
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice