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Millionaire oil magnate given suspended jail sentence in divorce dispute

Wealthy former oil trader Michael Prest has been given a four week suspended jail sentence after failing to pay his ex-wife £360,000 in maintenance.

Mr Prest has been engaged in a long-running divorce dispute with ex-wife Yasmin. She took her claim for 14 properties owned by a number of her ex-husband’s companies, most prominently Petrodel Resources, to the Supreme Court last year, and won the case.

Later the same year, however, Mrs Prest returned to court, claiming that her former husband had failed to pay court-ordered maintenance and was now in arrears by hundreds of thousands. He insisted that he could not afford to pay.

But the High Court has now ruled in favour of Mrs Prest. Mr Justice Moylan said evidence of free spending on expensive holidays in the Caribbean and New York, concert tickets for his children, domestic staff and school fees, all indicated that Mr Prest could afford to pay the £360,000 in maintenance he owed.

The sentence has been suspended for three months.

The couple married in 1993 and went on to have four children, but divorced after 18 years together. In a 2011 court hearing, Mr Prest’s wealth was estimated at £37.5 million.

Mr Prest was not in court. His lawyer said he was in New York and suffering from ill-health. She read a letter from him which stated:

“I have not killed anyone, nor have I committed any crime. I have simply slipped on the accident of life.”

Photo by riebschlager via Flickr

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Andrew says:

    We won’t be seeing him again.

    I wonder what she will do when he asks for contact in New York and provides the tickets!

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