A SCOTTISH property dealer said to be worth £400 million was yesterday given a six-month jail term after a high court judge ruled that he disobeyed orders to provide financial details to his estranged wife and was in contempt of court.
Mr Justice Moor said Scot Young, 51, had been in “flagrant” contempt during a long-running high court fight with Michelle Young, 48.
The judge described one explanation Mr Young had given for not complying with orders as “absurd” and said another was “next to useless”.
Yesterday’s hearing at the High Court in London was the latest stage in a legal fight stretching back several years.
High court judges have heard that the Youngs, who both live in London and have two daughters, separated in 2006.
In 2009, a judge ordered Mr Young to pay Mrs Young £27,500 a month maintenance.
Judge Moor said Mr Young had paid nothing in maintenance and arrears had risen to “close to £1m”.
Mr Young – who has been described at earlier court hearings as a “property tycoon” – said he is bankrupt and cannot pay.
Mrs Young said Mr Young has “secreted enormous assets”.
Mr Young, who was born in Dundee, said he was “shocked” by the sentence and added – as he was led away in handcuffs and carrying a Louis Vuitton overnight bag: “This is a sad day for British justice.”
Mrs Young disagreed and said: “What other choice do we have when someone is not complying with court orders, who is in contempt of court … who is trying to leave me and my children destitute?”
Mr Young’s girlfriend, model Noelle Reno, 29, added: “It’s not a great day, is it? I didn’t expect six months.”
Lawyers representing Mrs Young had applied for Mr Young to be committed to prison for contempt of court.
They told the judge that Mr Young had given the high court the “run around” after being ordered to provide details of his finances.
Mr Young, who represented himself, said Mrs Young was trying to commit him to prison out of “malice”.
He said he had “done everything in my power” and asked Judge Moor to give him more time to answer financial questions posed by Mrs Young.
Edward Fitzgerald QC, representing Mrs Young, had told the court that Mr Young had been worth £400m in 2006 but had given “absolutely no explanation” about where that money had gone.
He said Mr Young pleaded poverty but seemed to be living a lifestyle “consistent with considerable wealth”.
Mr Fitzgerald added: “He is going from party to party with a champagne glass in his hand and his current girlfriend, some supermodel or other, on his arm.”
Mr Young told the court that he had recently been “detained” in hospital under mental health legislation and had been unable to secure the services of a barrister. He said he had been harassed by “eight private detectives” instructed by Mrs Young and “made unwell”. He suggested that he was under greater surveillance than a terrorist.
Mr Young asked the judge to give him another 28 days to comply with orders.
Judge Moor said Mr Young was in contempt.
“He has not complied,” he added. “There has been a flagrant and deliberate contempt over a very long period of time.”
He added neither a fine nor a suspended sentence would be a sufficient penalty.
The judge said the pair’s competing claims would still have to be argued at a trial – due to take place later this year.
He added it was “vitally important” that Mr Young provided “full and frank disclosure” of evidence to support claims that he had no money.
Mrs Young added, after the hearing: “It has been a very long, rough ride. I hope I can make a stand for other families who have been left in such dire circumstances after long marriages.
“We were married 12 years. We were together for 18 years … Why should I just walk away? This money was made during our time together.”