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Wealthy Swede’s estranged husband given suspended jail term for court breaches

Louise Backstrom and Martin Wennberg, who are both in their 30s, have been involved in a private family court dispute in London.

Brian Farmer
Tuesday 04 July 2023 13:55 BST
Louise Backstrom has been involved in a fight over money with her estranged husband (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Louise Backstrom has been involved in a fight over money with her estranged husband (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

A “fabulously” wealthy Swedish businesswoman’s estranged husband has been given a 12-week suspended jail sentence as a result of breaching orders made during a court fight over money.

Louise Backstrom, who is in her 30s, and Martin Wennberg have been embroiled in a private family court dispute in London.

Mr Justice Peel, who described Ms Backstrom as “fabulously wealthy”, concluded in March that Mr Wennberg  was in contempt of court.

The judge said he was “guilty” of “10 separate breaches” of orders made during the litigation and handed down a sentence on Tuesday.

He also ordered Mr Wennberg to pick up legal bills – estimated by lawyers to be in the region of £200,000 – run up by Ms Backstrom.

Mr Wennberg was not at the hearing and was not represented by lawyers.

He had written to the judge asking for an adjournment.

Ms Backstrom was at the hearing.

Mr Justice Peel said Mr Wennberg had breached orders relating to the provision of financial information – and orders aimed at keeping information confidential.

Not only has the husband failed to provide the documentation as directed but he has not provided any explanation as to why

Michael Glaser KC, representing Ms Backstrom

He described Mr Wennberg’s conduct during the litigation as “unacceptable” and said a fine would not be a “satisfactory” penalty.

A barrister representing Ms Backstrom had told the judge at an earlier hearing that Mr Wennberg’s “lack of compliance” with court orders was “egregious”.

“Not only has the husband failed to provide the documentation as directed but he has not provided any explanation as to why,” Michael Glaser KC said.

“The breaches are clear and obvious.”

Another judge had made decisions about the division of money earlier this summer.

Deputy High Court judge Leslie Samuels had concluded that Ms Backstrom was worth about £250 million and ruled that she should hand her estranged husband more than £6.5 million, following the breakdown of their six-year marriage.

He was told that Ms Backstrom and Mr Wennberg were Swedish but lived in England and heard that she was involved in a family business started and controlled by her grandfather.

Mr Wennberg had wanted a financial package worth more than £40 million but Judge Samuels ruled against him.

Judge Samuels heard how Ms Backstrom had made a £6.5 million “housing fund” offer in accordance with the terms of a pre-marital agreement – and concluded that the agreement should carry “full weight”.

He said Ms Backstrom should also hand over about £60,000 a year over the next six years to meet Mr Wennberg’s “income needs”.

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