UPDATE, 31/10/13: Read Marilyn Stowe’s editorial for The Times about the final hearing in Young v Young.
The owner of high street brand Topshop and other leading businessmen are to be examined when a contentious divorce dispute returns to the courts later this month.
Michelle Young, former wife of property developer Scot Young, will question a number of businessmen, including Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, retail entrepreneur Harold Tillman, and clothing and restaurant magnate Richard Caring.
The questioning will mark the latest stage in a bitter divorce dispute that has dragged on since the couple’s separation in 2006. Mr Young insists he lost his fortune after the failure of a major property deal in Moscow, is reliant on funding from friends and cannot afford to pay the £27,500 a month in maintenance ordered by a judge in 2009. His ex-wife, meanwhile, claims has hidden millions in off-shore tax havens .
Scot Young was jailed earlier this year for contempt of court after failing to produce court-ordered details of payments from various contacts. His legal team unsuccessfully tried to protect the men from cross-examination.
Mr Justice Moor said preventing the examination would be “ridiculous”.
“I consider it almost inconceivable that she would not be able to challenge them… If these people are saying that they funded Mr Young then she is entitled to cross-examine them.”
According to a report in The Independent, Michelle Young is also seeking to annul her former husband’s bankruptcy. Lawyers of HMRC said they would oppose this “very vigorously ”, despite the fact that Mr Young is reported to owe a significant amount in tax.
Mr Justice Moor commented:
“Don’t they want to get their money? I would have thought HMRC, as a creditor, would be absolutely delighted?”