A SCOTTISH businessman embroiled in a High Court cash fight with his estranged wife “transferred” assets and shares after his marriage got into difficulties, a judge heard yesterday.
Lawyers for Michelle Young suggested to Mr Justice Moor that assets belonging to her husband Scot Young had been transferred to a “lieutenant” via other people.
They indicated that transfers had come to light after a financial investigator examined Mr Young’s finances.
Mrs Young, 49, estimates that Mr Young, 51, is worth “a few billion at least” and says “there was a vast fortune hidden”.
Mr Young, who was born in Dundee, has yet to give evidence. But he disputes Mrs Young’s claims and has said he is “penniless and bankrupt”, a victim of “financial meltdown” and “hopelessly insolvent”.
The trial – in the Family Division of the High Court in London – is expected to last several weeks.
Mr Justice Moor said he would have to decide how much Mr Young is worth. The trial is being staged in private but Mr Justice Moor has given permission for it to be reported.
Financial investigator Burke Files gave evidence about Mr Young’s finances and was questioned by Rex Howling QC, for Mrs Young.
Mr Howling said there appeared to be occasions where assets or shares had been transferred by Mr Young then later appeared in the name of his “lieutenant”. Mr Files agreed.
“The various schedules suggest that Mr Young could have been telling his advisers that he was worth as much as £500 million in 2005-06,” Mr Howling has told the judge.
“Mr Young has resolutely failed to provide evidence of where his money has gone.”
He added: “Mrs Young asserts that Mr Young has transferred his beneficial interest in the majority of his assets to a number of closely allied third parties.”
Mr Justice Moor has heard that the Youngs, who both live in London and have two daughters, separated in 2006 after beginning a relationship in 1989.
They have been fighting over money for several years.
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 during preliminary stages of litigation and was in contempt of court. He said Mr Young’s failures to obey court orders had been “flagrant and deliberate”.
The hearing continues.