Tycoon's estranged wife slams £20m settlement

Scot Young and Michelle Young Scot and Michelle Young separated in 2006

The estranged wife of a property tycoon, awarded £20m by the High Court, has called the payout "disgraceful".

Michelle Young, 49, insisted her husband Scot, 51, was worth "billions", but Mr Justice Moor assessed Mr Young to be worth £40m.

At a hearing in the Family Division of London's High Court, the judge said Mrs Young was entitled to half of her husband's fortune.

After the ruling, Mrs Young said: "It's disgraceful... he's worth billions."

"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," she added.

The judge also ordered Mr Young to pay £5m of his estranged wife's £6.5m legal bill and said Mr Young's passport, which was seized by the court more than four years ago, should be returned.

Mr Young, who said he had a financial "meltdown" in 2006, refused to comment as he left court.

'Extraordinary' litigation

Mr Justice Moor said he knew Mrs Young would find it hard to enforce the order, but he said Mr Young would never be free of the debt.

Start Quote

Many people will be watching this and think it's a fortune but at the moment all this order is a piece of paper.”

End Quote Michelle Young

The judge said the litigation, which started more than six years ago, had been "quite extraordinary" and that Mr Young had misled the court "very significantly" on his financial position.

"It is undoubtedly the most difficult financial remedy case I have ever come across," he said.

He added: "In many respects, this is about as bad an example of how not to litigate as any I have ever encountered."

The Youngs, who live in London and have two daughters, separated in 2006 after starting a relationship in 1989.

Mrs Young said the couple had lived a "luxury marriage" and that her husband would spend up to £5,000 in a restaurant. She also claimed that the couple would take three or four holidays abroad a year, often staying in villas and presidential suites.

Mrs Young, who had employed 13 sets of lawyers and four sets of accountants over the years, claimed that her husband had hidden "a vast fortune".

However, Mr Young said he was bankrupt, penniless and had debts adding up to £28m.

'Conspiracy everywhere'

In January, Mr Justice Moor imposed a six-month prison term on Mr Young after saying that he had failed to provide financial information to his wife ahead of the trial and was in contempt of court.

At the hearing today, Mr Justice Moor criticised the couple and said Mr Young was "hiding the truth" and was not "a penniless man of straw with huge debts".

He said Mrs Young's evidence had not been reliable and said she saw "conspiracy everywhere".

Mr Justice Moor added that he felt "nothing but sympathy" for the couple's two daughters who he said had seen their parents' divorce played out in the "full glare of the media".

More on This Story

From other news sites

BBC London

Weather

London

6 °C 0 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    08:50: On air Vanessa Feltz Presenter, BBC London 94.9

    Just after 09:00 on BBC London 94.9, I'll be discussing the Thameslink delays which has seen more than 1,000 trains cancelled due to a burst water main.

    Have you been caught up in it? Let me know: call 0207 224 2000.

     
  2.  
    08:48: Spurs to Wembley Andy Rowley BBC London 94.9

    Tottenham Hotspur are off to Wembley to face Chelsea in the Capital One Cup Final after a 2-2 draw against Sheffield United gave them a 3-2 aggregate win over the League One side.

    Tottenham's Christian Eriksen
     
  3.  
    08:41: Feedback

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

     
  4.  
    08:31: All change at museum

    ... and a blue whale is moving in.

    computer graphic of the blue whale

    Read about what has filled the Natural History Museum's Hintze Hall over the years and listen to museum director Sir Michael Dixon explain the new change.

     
  5.  
    08:28: Museum changes

    After 35 years, Dippy's going...

    'Dippy'
     
  6.  
    08:18: TV headlines BBC London News TV
    Katharine Carpenter

    The top headlines this morning:

    • Commuters travelling through Farringdon on Thameslink services face yet another day of cancellations and delays
    • Bus workers are planning three more 24-hour strikes next month.
    • One of the Natural History Museum's most famous exhibits is being moved out of the main hall after 35 years.
     
  7.  
    08:11: Thameslink problems continue

    There is continued disruption to Thameslink services with no trains running between London St Pancras International and Farringdon until at least the end of the day. It's because of a signalling problem caused by earlier flooding.

     
  8.  
    08:05: Cold and breezy

    It will stay cold and breezy with sunny spells and scattered sleet and snow showers. The heaviest showers are expected in the afternoon.

    Weather today

    Maximum temperature: 6C (43F).

     
  9.  
    08:00: Good morning Rebecca Cafe BBC News

    Welcome to Thursday. I'm bringing you the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

    You can email me your comments about the stories of the day or send photos or tweet @BBCLondonNews.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • The AmericansThe good guys?

    A US TV show examining the Cold War is offering a radical revision of history, writes Eric Kohn

Programmes

  • Virtual courtroomClick Watch

    The 'forensic holodeck’ system that recreates crime scenes as 3D virtual worlds

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.