A wealthy Canadian oil trader has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for contempt of court after allegedly failing to meet financial obligations to this estranged wife.
The former CEO of oil firm Mart Resources had been ordered to pay his estranged wife £5 million over three years in settlement of their divorce, Bloomberg Business reports, but he had not done so. Maya Cherwayko took her claim back to court, arguing that he had failed to comply with the previous court order.
The couple had married in 2005 and went on to have two children together but later separated. They have been engaged in acrimonious divorce proceedings since 2008.
At a High Court hearing, Mrs Justice Parker ruled in his wife’s favour. The businessman’s failure to pay the sums ordered deserved “a term of immediate imprisonment”, she declared.
He had also, she declared, failed to attend court despite being ordered to do so, failed to lodge £5 million in shares as security for the lump sum payments, and failed to provide financial information.
The oil trader’s counsel argued that his access to cash had been diminished by fall in oil prices, saying he now had debts.
Mr Cherwayko currently lives in Dubai according to media reports and the Judge noted, he may therefore “escape implementation of a custodial sentence by remaining outside the jurisdiction. But, she added:
“He may not be able to remain outside it for all time.”