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Tycoon faces jail over £400m divorce

PUBLISHED: 11:52 03 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:17 07 September 2010

Sanchez Manning A TYCOON who was worth £400million but now claims to be penniless has been told to come clean about his finances or face jail. Scot Young, a fixer to billionaires, insists his property empire has collapsed and says he is being chased by

Sanchez Manning

A TYCOON who was worth £400million but now claims to be penniless has been told to come clean about his finances or face jail.

Scot Young, a 'fixer' to billionaires, insists his property empire has collapsed and says he is being chased by creditors of £27million, leaving him unable to pay a divorce settlement.

His estranged wife Michelle, who still lives in their family home in Regent's Park, rejected these claims and is suing for maintenance plus a share of his assets.

At the High Court on Monday, Mrs Justice Parker said because Mr Young had failed to provide details of his accounts she had "no hesitation" in finding him guilty of contempt of court.

During the hearing, Mrs Young's QC Richard Todd compared her husband's story with the plot of the movie Brewster's Millions in which a failing baseball player is told he will inherit $300million if he can spend $30million in 30 days and have nothing to show for it.

Mr Todd said it was in August 2007 that Mr Young first claimed he was "minus £27million" and insolvent. Yet only the previous year his wife had obtained computer hard drives putting his wealth at £400million.

"Where did it all go in such a short time?" Mr Todd asked.

Mr Young first met his wife when he was a rising property entrepreneur and they married at Chelsea register office in 1995.

Described as 'a fixer' for the rich, the wealthy businessman owned a series of mansions and sold a £1million family home to Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky.

The couple lived in the US until 2006, when Mrs Young moved back to the UK and she currently lives with daughters Scarlet, 16, and Sasha, 14, in Regent's Terrace.

Her husband has been paying the £10,000-a-month rent on the property, plus the girls' £36,000-a-year private school fees.

But Mr Todd told the judge that Mrs Young had now been served with notice to quit her home and her daughters face the prospect of having to leave school. Yet he claims her husband is still flying between the UK and Germany, where he is now based "with apparently no visible means of support."

He was represented in court by top financial expert, Geoffrey Cox QC, as recently as May 15.

After finding Mr Young guilty of contempt, Mrs Justice Parker gave Mr Young until September 7 to provide the requested financial information. She said if, at a further court hearing on September 28, he has not complied, he will be jailed for six months.

She also ordered him to pay his wife's legal costs on an 'indemnity' basis - the highest scale of court costs - despite his insistence that he has no money to pay.


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