Ex-wife’s bid to seize late Scot Young’s fortune

Michelle Young is searching for a missing 400 million. Picture: PA

Michelle Young is searching for a missing 400 million. Picture: PA

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THE former wife of Scot Young, the Scottish bankrupt property tycoon who fell to his death, is seeking “a fresh pair of eyes” to search for the fortune she believes he kept from her during a bitter divorce battle.

Mr Young, 52, who was originally from Dundee, was jailed for six months for contempt of court during a high-profile matrimonial row with his former partner, as she accused him of hiding away more than £400 million.

Last Monday, he fell on to railings outside a luxury flat in Montagu Square, Marylebone, central London, in what witnesses described as a “grisly” and “brutal” scene. Since then, there has been speculation that his death was linked to dealings with the Russian mafia.

A High Court judge said in a ruling handed down yesterday, following a hearing in November, that Michelle Young, 50, was entitled to apply for a creditors’ meeting to press for the appointment of new bankruptcy trustees to carry out the search.

First she must pay outstanding costs bills, including those owed to current joint trustees.

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The judge said Ms Young wanted David Ingram and ­Richard Hicken – two partners in professional services firm Grant Thornton – replaced because they had identified none of the late Mr Young’s assets.

The judge said she was also accusing the trustees of “lacking neutrality and being biased against her”.

The Youngs separated in 2006 after starting a relationship in 1989. Mr Young had since entered into a relationship with former model Noelle Reno. The pair were said to have split up two weeks before his death.

Andrew Hochhauser QC, a deputy judge of the High Court’s chancery division, said Ms Young had two daughters with her former husband and was his largest creditor.

Under the 1986 Insolvency Act, creditors have a democratic right to remove a trustee in bankruptcy at a creditors’ meeting, although the courts can intervene to stop a meeting being convened.

Judge Hochhauser said the current trustees had applied for a direction that a meeting should not be convened.

Ms Young wanted them replaced by Ian Cadlock, from Quantuma LLP, and Louise Brittain, of Wilkins Kennedy LLP.

The judge said during her divorce proceedings that Ms Young had changed her solicitors and forensic accountants several times. She was now on her 14th firm of solicitors, with her total litigation costs totalling about £6.4m.

The judge said: “Ms Young believed the bankrupt [Mr Young] to be hiding more than £400m and certain well-known, exceptionally wealthy people were helping him to conceal his money”.

He added family division judge Mr Justice Moor had found the former husband had retained assets valued at £45m, but could not say where.

Judge Hochhauser concluded: “It is understandable that to date there has been no identification of assets belonging to the bankrupt, and I wholly reject any suggestion of reluctance or intransigence on the part of the joint trustees to identify or recover assets, Ms Young is entitled to invite the other creditors to consider replacing the joint trustees with a ‘fresh pair of eyes’.”

However, the meeting would not take place until she had paid outstanding costs orders in relation to attempting to stay or annul the bankruptcy.

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