THE jailing of a property dealer who disobeyed high court orders to give financial information to his estranged wife would send a message to couples embroiled in divorce-cash battles, lawyers have claimed.
A high court judge imposed a six-month prison term after concluding that 51-year-old Scot Young was in contempt of court.
Mrs Michelle Young said her estranged husband is "very wealthy" and worth as much as £400m (€482m). She says he has hidden cash to avoid his "legitimate obligations" .
Young says he is "penniless and bankrupt", a victim of "financial meltdown".
Mr Justice Moor said Young's failures to obey orders had had been "flagrant and deliberate".
He said a fine or suspended sentence could not be justified.
His decision, at a high court hearing in London, was the latest stage in a lengthy legal fight between Young and his estranged wife Michelle (48). Judges have heard that the Youngs, who live in London and have two daughters, separated in 2006. In December 2009, a judge ordered him to pay Mrs Young £27,500 (€33,100) a month maintenance.
Mr Justice Moor said he paid "next to nothing" and arrears were close to £1m (€1.2m).
In the same year, a judge had found him to be in contempt of court orders and imposed a suspended six-month prison term.
The latest round of litigation began earlier this week when Mrs Young complained he had not complied with an order to explain where he had been getting money from in recent years.