Tuesday 20 March 2018

'Bankrupt' businessman made $4.5bn on Facebook, court told

Michelle Young, estranged wife of bankrupt tycoon Scot. Ian Nicholson
Michelle Young, estranged wife of bankrupt tycoon Scot. Ian Nicholson

Tom Harper

A handwritten note seized from the home of the bankrupt tycoon at the centre of Britain's most high-profile divorce case suggested he made a "$4.5bn (€3.3bn) profit" in Facebook, the High Court heard yesterday.

A financial investigator told the court that documents recovered from Scot Young, a property and telecoms magnate who claims he lost a vast fortune just as his marriage collapsed, suggest the 51-year-old is still very wealthy.

Burke Files, who specialises in asset recovery and claims Mr Young is still worth at least £700m (€827m), said he had seen a handwritten note by the businessman that was seized when his estranged wife, Michelle, obtained a court order to search his London hotel room last year. He said: "I have seen a post-it note talking about a $4.5bn profit in Facebook."

Mr Young, who was jailed earlier this year for contempt of court for failing to provide financial information to his wife showing the disappearance of his vast wealth, claims he is penniless.

The anti-money-laundering specialist gave a complex explanation of how he believed Mr Young, who went bankrupt in 2010 owing creditors £28m, had "restructured his empire".

Mr Files told the court that one of Mr Young's companies had an "open and active bank account in 2011" – 18 months after the tycoon was declared bankrupt and two years after the company was liquidated.

The American investigator said: "It suggests that he is using that bank account to secrete money from his creditors."

Under cross-examination, Mr Young asked Mr Files if he agreed with his claim that Bank of Scotland had repossessed all his properties. Mr Files replied: "No, I don't agree at all." Mr Young then turned to the judge and denied he was "in cahoots" with the bank.

The trial continues. (© Independent News Service)

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