‘Owning a £2m apartment doesn’t mean I’m rich...’: Court dismisses banker’s claim that he cannot afford to pay ex-wife’s legal fees


Paul Cheston
Tuesday 22 October 2013 06:35
Yan Assoun, left, owns half of a multi-million dollar business
Yan Assoun, left, owns half of a multi-million dollar business

The boss of an $8m-a-year banking business told a High Court judge: “Yes I own a $3.3m New York apartment – it doesn’t mean I’m rich.”

The spending power of former City trader, Yan Assoun, 43, was described by a family judge three months ago as “beyond the wildest dreams” of his estranged wife. But with his bitter divorce battle now in the Appeal Court, he insisted: “I don’t have any money.”

Mr Assoun said he has enormous debts and denied he was “rich”, despite admitting the company in which he is majority shareholder turned over $8m (£4.9m) last year, and that he lives in a $3.3m (£2m) Broadway apartment.

Mr Assoun and his wife Anais Assoun, 44, met and married in London while he worked in the City for BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse. They raised their children Graysha, now a model, and Kai here before splitting in 2007 and settling in different parts of the US. However, Mrs Assoun, a fashion writer who owns a ranch in Texas, and her ex-husband turned to the English courts to decide how the family wealth should be divided.

In 2011 Mrs Assoun was awarded $1.1m of assets and her ex-husband was ordered to pay her $180,000-a-year in maintenance, plus $50,000 a year for their children’s education.

In July, Judge Glenn Brasse ordered Mr Assoun to pay £235,000 towards his wife’s legal costs. Judge Brasse, sitting at the Clerkenwell and Shoreditch county court, awarded the payment after ruling on a dispute between the former spouses over the amount of wealth each of them controls.

Mr Assoun launched an appeal, asking Lord Justice Moses to overturn that order, telling him: “My recent income has dropped considerably – I don’t have any money.”

The banker, representing himself, told the Appeal Court yesterday: “Judge Brasse ordered me to pay large sums in legal fees to my wife... [he was] wrong to make such an order”.

Of his multi-million dollar business he added: “Speculation that a turnover of $8m would automatically translate to a large income for myself, because I own 50 per cent of the company, is just wrong. He is making a mistake... I am currently acting in person because... I can no longer afford a solicitor.”

Refusing permission to appeal, Lord Justice Moses said: “The judge didn’t believe that and thought you were much better off. The Court of Appeal cannot disturb the findings as to who is believed and who is not.” Mrs Assoun did not attend the Appeal Court hearing and was not represented.

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