I am completely with the dear lady on this one! This poor woman’s shoes are probably worth more than 20 million pounds. How on earth do they expect her to live on such a paltry sum? Shame on the justice system, I say! Shame on you all!
The wife of tycoon Scot Young has been awarded a £20million divorce settlement but immediately demanded more, branding the judgement ‘disgraceful’ and her husband a ‘powerful maniac’.
Michelle Young, 49, accused her estranged 51-year-old husband of hiding his fortune to avoid a divorce settlement, claiming he was worth billions while he claimed to be bankrupt.
But today a High Court ruled that he is in fact worth £40 million.
As a result Mrs Young can expect to get a lump sum of £20 million – substantially less than the £300million she was seeking.
Outside the court she reacted to the ruling with fury, saying: ‘It’s disgraceful. I stand by what I said. He’s worth billions.’
Mrs Young said: ‘Today is a day that should have come long ago.
‘This has been a desperate struggle for me and my two daughters, cast adrift seven years ago by a powerful maniac who felt he could hide his vast wealth behind his super-rich friends, blue-chip institution, and the law enforcement agencies who would rather turn the other cheek than tackle corruption.
‘This case has uncovered some dark truths about the Britain we all live in today.
‘This world city is too reliant on industrial-scale fraud and money laundering, aided by corrupt lawyers, bankers and accountants.
‘I doubt the general public would equate these sort of industries with drug barons, pimps, and gang lords, but trust me, the crimes are real.
‘My husband has been allowed to make a mockery of the justice system for seven years, lying and cheating at every turn.
‘He has repeatedly failed to disclose how he lost his money, which led Mr Justice Moor to draw the inevitable conclusion: he has hidden a fortune.’
Mrs Young had been demanding half her husband’s assets, maintaining he was worth ‘a few billion at least’ but had hidden away ‘a vast fortune’ and that she was a victim of ‘fraud’ claiming he had manipulated his affairs to avoid parting with his fortune.
But her comments today come as Judge Justice Moor said he believed she was prone to exaggerating some of her claims concluding: ‘She sees conspiracy everywhere.’
Unperturbed however Mrs Young vowed to battle on for what she believes she is owed, she added: ‘Mr Young has clearly played a numbers game.
‘He looked at the strategy and decided he would keep more money through non-disclosure and playing the system, rather than award me and my girls the settlement we deserve.
‘Sadly for us, and for Mr Justice Moor, it has been impossible to quantify the assets that he has hidden, which has resulted in this reduced award.
‘Many people will be watching this and think it’s a fortune but at the moment all this order is is a piece of paper.
‘I will need to borrow heavily against this award to fund an asset recovery mission, the like of which I doubt this country will have seen before.
‘So this isn’t over. Not for me, not for my two daughters, and not for Mr Young.’
In a statement she continued to rage against those who she believes colluded with her husband adding: ‘Oh, and it’s not over for all those corrupt third parties, bribed and trapped in “golden handcuffs”, and who also escaped justice in today’s judgment.
‘Be under no illusions, I will be coming for you too.’
Asked about his wife’s reaction to the ruling, Mr Young said: ‘Disgraceful? That was my wife’s quote, was it? No comment.’
The couple have been at the centre one of the nation’s most expensive and acrimonious divorce settlements, as Michelle Young accused her husband of hiding his assets to avoid paying her a huge sum.
Mr Young claimed he was bankrupt and heavily indebted after a Russian real estate venture ended in disaster but his wife said she would only reach a settlement for £300 million plus legal expenses.
The High Court heard how Mr Young, who is a friend of X Factor impresario Simon Cowell, branded her a ‘greedy cow’ and was jailed for three months earlier this year after he refused to reveal information about his finances.
He was said to have created a business structure called ‘Project Marriage Walk’ to hide assets from his wife as their marriage hit the rocks.
Today Mr Justice Moor told the court that the case had been an ‘extraordinary’ eye-opener even to someone of his experience, but that he believed Mr Young over his embittered wife.
He said: ‘This has been one of the most complicated financial remedy cases ever seen in the courts. This case has been quite extraordinary even by the standards of the most bitter matrimonial breakdowns.
‘Extremely serious allegations have been bandied around like confetti. Some of these allegations can only be described as “wild”.
‘The husband says the family lived beyond its means but he was not, in any way, a reluctant spender.
‘The wife says that their lifestyle was luxurious.
‘On her 40th birthday, she says he bought her a Graff diamond set worth £1million and that her wedding ring also cost £1million.
‘She said the he would regularly spend up to £5,000 in restaurants and told her the annual bill for restaurants was £1m.
‘The husband accepted that the family had a very expensive lifestyle but denied it was as lavish as the wife alleged.
‘He said he had only ten watches, the most expensive of which was worth £70,000.
‘He said that he got the jewellery for the wife’s 40th birthday from Giraffe, and it cost £150,000.
‘He said the wedding ring cost £50,000. He denied that the family spent anything like £1million per annum on restaurants.
‘I have to say that, in relation to this part of the case, I prefer the evidence of the husband.
‘Regrettably, the wife was exaggerating but there is no doubt that the expenditure was, by any normal standards, extremely high.
‘There is no doubt that, following the separation, the husband continued to maintain the wife and children generously.
‘The wife’s case is that, in large part, he was channeling his own hidden resources utilising the help of friends.
‘The wife gave evidence before me on the first day of the trial. I do not question in any way her honesty.
‘She has become utterly convinced that her husband is a liar who has hidden vast resources.
‘She is convinced that the husband engineered his financial meltdown in the early part of 2006 knowing that his marriage was to end.
‘She believes this was with the sole purpose of keeping his assets safe from her claims. She is convinced that, if the husband once owned a property, he must still own it today.
‘She sees conspiracy everywhere.’
Mrs Young told the trial that she and her husband lived a ‘luxury marriage’ that would regularly spend up to £5,000 on meals and out and visited a Raymond Blanc restaurant twice a week.
The family lived in Belgravia and in Miami, Florida, where they owned three Porsche cars.
She also claimed her husband had paid between £2million and £4million for a ‘flash gin-palace’ Sunseeker-type boat, and that they went on four exotic holidays a year – staying in villas and presidential suites.
She said: ‘We had vast estates, we had staff, we had a very luxury lifestyle.’
‘We had a chandelier in our drawing room. The other chandelier sits in the White House … They were valuable assets.’
But she added her husband was always very secretive about finance.
‘There was a vast fortune hidden,’ she said. ‘He used offshore vehicles and many advisers and accountants to layer these assets.’
Admitting that he knew Mrs Young would not be pleased with the outcome of the case, Mr Justice Moor said he hoped both parties would take the ruling as a chance to move on with their lives.
‘Doing as best I can, I find that he [Mr Young] still has £45million hidden from this court.
‘As against that, I must deduct £5million for his debts, making a net total of £40million.
‘The wife is entitled to half, namely a lump sum of £20million.
‘I realise the wife will have difficulties in enforcing my order. I only have two things to say.
‘First, the debt will exist for all time. The husband will never be free of it.
‘Second, I have rejected all the more fanciful allegations made against him.
‘I cannot see how he would have complied with an order for a lump sum of £300million let alone £400million.
‘I hope that he will take the view that he is better off paying the lower sum of £20million so that he can then concentrate on rebuilding his life.’
He also added that he did not believe there was any need for Mr Young’s high profile friends, Sir Topshop boss Sir Philip Green and Richard Caring, to be compelled to appear at court.
Both had made substantial loans to Mr Young at the height of his financial difficulties which his wife was convinced were a cover for channeling secret money back to him.
He said: ‘I have formed the clear conclusion that neither of these witnesses should have been required to attend court.
‘I find that they were required to attend on the firm instructions of the wife.
‘I am not clear if she did so because she believes, quite erroneously, that they were lying or whether she just wanted to embarrass her husband and create even more publicity for her case.
‘In any event, there was no evidence whatsoever that either gentleman was not telling the truth. They should not have been required to attend to give evidence.’
In January, Mr Justice Moor imposed a six-month prison term on Mr Young after concluding that he had failed to provide financial information to his wife in the run up to the trial, and was therefore in contempt of court.
Over a lengthy hearing the judge has heard that the Youngs, who live in London and have two daughters, met in 1986 and separated in 2006.
But their bitter divorce proceedings have dragged on for several years and, according to Mrs Young’s divorce lawyer, run up a £1.6million bill in her legal fees alone.
The court heard that Mr Young had offered his wife a £300million settlement on August 25, 2009, just before he was declared bankrupt the following year.
The businessman later claimed in court the offer was ‘an act of lunacy’ and he would have only given her the money if Ronald Reagan rose from the dead to become US president again, or if ‘Jeremy Beadle walks through the door’.
But he told a photographer he had offered his wife £27million.
Dennis Gill said Mr Young told him he would pay him £2,000 in cash to follow and photograph his wife.
He told the court: ‘Scot then said “between me and you, mate, I offered her £27million and she refused it, only a greedy cow would refuse that”.’
Mr Gill then tried to distance himself from Mr Young’s remarks, claiming he was going deaf, but denied anyone had tried to make him change his original statement.
‘To the best of my knowledge, I did hear him say that, but I could have misinterpreted, because of my ears,’ he explained.
He added that Mrs Young told him that she lived in a Pimlico bedsit, relying on food hand-outs and charity shops – but he had seen her at top nightclubs with celebrities like Donna Air.
Earlier in the week the court heard that Mr Young stood to make £2.8billion from Facebook shares.
Mrs Young’s barrister Rex Howling QC had produced a Post-it note seized last year from the businessman when his wife obtained a court order to search his paperwork.
The scrap of paper cited the Facebook flotation and a share deal involving Silicon Valley giant Sean Parker, the social network’s first president.
‘Will make $4.5 billion,’ it concluded.
But Mr Young insisted: ‘This is just a random piece of paper with my scribbling.’
He added: ‘Can I state for the record that I have never owned shares in Facebook in any shape or form.’
He also received £80million in cash payments between 2004 and 2009 ‘for which no entries were found in the bank statements provided’, the court was told.
Rex Howling QC, for Mrs Young, referred to a forensic analysis of Mr Young’s bank accounts.
The search had revealed ‘a phenomenal amount of money’ passing through them.
Addressing Mr Young, he said: ‘There was £134million of cash movement through your various accounts between January 2004 and October 2009.
‘A total of £80million of payments were made to Mr Young, for which no entries were found in the bank statements provided.’
Following the verdict and despite her client’s anger Catherine Thomas, of Vardags, who represented Mrs Young claimed the ruling as a victory because the firm has succeeded in proving that Mr Young was not penniless as he had insisted.
Mrs Thomas said: ‘The verdict sends a strong message to those across the world seeking to hide their true wealth from their spouse.’
Culled from dailymail.co.uk