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Tycoon divorce case returns to courts

Stephen Howard,Press Association
Thursday 22 April 2010 08:06 BST

Tycoon Scot Young and his estranged wife return to the High Court today over matters said to relate to the £27,500 a month maintenance he was ordered to pay.

Michelle Young is claiming she has not received any money from the man she says is worth £400 million. Mr Young claims he is massively in debt.

Mrs Justice Black, who made the order last December, will hear today's action in London.

She ordered Mr Young to make the maintenance payments for his wife's living and legal expenses until his financial affairs become "clearer" at a full hearing in May to divide the assets of their marriage.

In a statement, Mrs Young said for three years her husband had refused to give full and frank disclosure of his assets.

"While 'the fixer' to Russian oligarchs and British billionaires claims to be 'penniless' he still has the means to retain some of Britain's finest legal representation."

She added: "I'm doing this to make sure that my daughters and I won't have to worry for the future and at the same time this is a process to make history for an important case like this to receive public funding.

"This is 20 years of my life, this has had such a huge effect on me and my daughters. Like so many women, so many families in this situation, I want to stand up and make this change for justice."

The judge was told at the December hearing that 47-year-old Mr Young was given £1.2 million over three years by friends to pay for his and his estranged wife's living expenses because he is broke.

The couple were married in 1995 and separated in 2006 when Mrs Young returned to the UK and petitioned for divorce a year later.

Mr Young is claiming, said the judge, that he has no capital to pay his wife's maintenance and had £28.5 million in debts.

He said money had been provided through the generosity of friends but they may no longer be prepared to do so after their names appeared in newspapers on the "instigation" of the wife.

The judge said "matters went off track" in the court proceedings almost immediately when Mr Young provided details of his assets which were "virtually useless".

"The parties have historically lived a luxurious lifestyle on money made by the husband in the course of his activities as an entrepreneur and property dealer."

She said he claimed he now had nothing but debts but was trying to get back into business and hoped to start generating income again.

In the meantime he was continuing to borrow money from friends to maintain his wife and children until he is able to earn again.

Mrs Justice Black said Mrs Young had questioned the "change of fortune" and whether it was real.

At a hearing earlier last year, another High Court judge found Mr Young in contempt for failing to provide more information about his assets and sentenced him to six months in jail, suspended, to give him a chance to provide full details.

The decision over whether to impose the sentence was postponed again when Mr Young provided large amounts of material, said Mrs Justice Black.

The judge said his true worth will not be known until an examination of the material.

She said Mr Young did not have a bank account and said he was living on £150 a week provided by a friend.

The judge said Mrs Young had been living on her capital since the funding stopped last year and now had just £30,000 left and owed £180,000 to divorce solicitors.

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