Court of Appeal rules against Michael Prest

Divorce|July 7th 2015

Nigerian businessman Michael Prest has lost his appeal against an order that he pay ex-wife Yasmin hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The ruling marks only the latest stage in the acrimonious divorce proceedings between the oil trader and his former spouse. Following a high profile dispute over the ownership of 14 properties, which Mrs Prest successfully escalated to the Supreme Court, she returned to the courts last summer, complaining that the businessman had failed to pay her £360,000 in maintenance. She was again successful and Mr Prest received  a four week suspended jail sentence.

Mr Prest had the means to pay the sum but had refused to do so, Mr Justice Moylan declared.

The businessman appealed the jail sentence and was eventually granted a suspension until the completion of the appeals process on condition that he pay a security deposit.

But his appeal has now been dismissed. Mr Prest’s legal team argued, amongst other grounds, that the Judge’s ruling had been based on inadmissible material, that there had been insufficient properly admissible evidence to justify the ruling, and that the four week sentence had been excessive.

But the Court of Appeal was unconvinced. Lord Justice McFarlane analysed Mr Justice Moyland’s ruling and concluded that the evidence used had been properly analysed and appropriately assessed. In addition, said His Lordship, a prison sentence of four weeks given the sums involved was “unremarkable”.

The businessman now has until September 28 to pay the sum of £360,200. If he fails to do so, a warrant for his arrest will be issued.

Read the judgement here.

Photo of the Royal Courts of Justice by Mal Booth via Flickr

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