Tuesday 12 December 2017

Court orders multi-millionaire husband to provide estranged wife with documentation to assist her estimate his worth

A 15-year-old boy has pleaded not guilty to assaulting a school principal
A 15-year-old boy has pleaded not guilty to assaulting a school principal

Ray Managh

A multi- millionaire company director has been ordered by the High Court to provide his estranged wife with documentation to assist her, and the court, estimate his exact worth.

The man, a former head of a global group of companies in which he still has more than a 90 per cent shareholding, has been variously estimated to be worth between just over €3.6million and €13million.

Mr Justice David Keane stated in a High Court judgment today that the man’s wife was seeking a judicial separation from him and had claimed that documents with which she had been provided were not adequate for her forensic accountants to determine the value of his company shares.

The woman and mother, an Irish resident, claimed she is entirely dependent on her husband, currently living abroad, for the upkeep of herself and their children.  In the absence of full documentation her accountants estimated his worth at €13million.  The man values his shares at just over €3.6 million.

Neither party can be identified as they are currently engaged in family law proceedings.

Judge Keane said the question raised by the wife’s application for full documentation was what was the scope and limits of the power of the High Court to order one spouse to provide information to the other concerning the financial circumstances of a company in which one was a major shareholder.

He said that in addition to a decree of judicial separation the wife sought various ancillary orders under the Family Law Act  regarding the property and other financial resources which each of the spouses had or was likely to have in the foreseeable future.

Judge Keane said the husband had a controlling interest in the Irish registered parent company of a global group of companies that employed more than 500 workers.

While he had initially personally valued his shareholding at just over €3.6million that had later been updated to between €7.6million and €9.2million by a firm of chartered accountants he had engaged to value his shareholding.

Forensic accountants employed by the wife had estimated, on the basis of the alleged limited documentation made available to them, that her husband’s company shareholding could be worth as much as €13million.

Judge Keane said the wife had sought detailed particulars and disclosures relating to the value of his shareholding and financial transactions between him and his company including pension provisions.  The documents sought included profit and loss accounts, financial forecasts and budgets and company acquisitions.

He said the Family Law Act required each spouse to give the other such particulars as may reasonably be required for court proceedings and the court was empowered to direct compliance with the Act.

The parties had a specific duty to make full and frank disclosure of all material facts relevant to the exercise of the court’s powers, obligations which went significantly further than rules of discovery applicable to general litigation.

The judge ordered the husband to furnish his wife with particulars of his property and income as set out in her application and adjourned the matter to enable compliance with her request.

Irish Independent

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