Saturday 16 December 2017

'Greedy cow' wife turns down £27m divorce settlement

Claire Duffin

A BANKRUPT tycoon locked in a divorce battle with his estranged wife told a paparazzi photographer "I offered her £27 million and she refused it", a court has heard.

Scot Young, 51, who claims to be "hopelessly insolvent" told Dennis Gill, a photographer, that Michelle was "a greedy cow" for turning down the offer.



Mr Young, formerly described as a billionaire but now "penniless and bankrupt", is being pursued by Mrs Young, 49, who claims he is worth "a few billion" and said that she would settle for £300 million.



The offer was made in October 2009 by Mr Young, Mr Gill said in a written statement.



The paparazzi knew both Mr and Mrs Young from his work in central London and said that both had offered him money to follow their estranged spouse.


Mr Gill said in a written statement to the court: "He said he would pay me £2,000 in cash tax-free if I would follow his wife on Friday taking a video and photos of whom she was with.


"I said 'Ok sure' and he said he would call me. Scot then said 'between me and you mate, I offered her £27m and she refused it, only a greedy cow would refuse that'.


"He then said, 'what greedy cow would refuse that?'.


"I said that was not for me to say. He told me to keep it under my hat and not to tell anyone. He continued chatting and told me that he pays for everything in cash so that his wife cannot keep track of what he is spending."


Mr Young denied making the statement about offering his wife £27m.


Giving evidence Mr Gill also said he had seen Mr Young out in London with Boris Berezovsky, the Russian businessman and opponent of Vladimir Putin who died earlier this year; Philip Green, the billionaire owner of Topshop, and Simon Cowell, the music mogul.


Mr Gill also claimed Mrs Young also offered him money to follow her husband. He said she told him he would "never have to work again" and she would "look after him" when she got her settlement.


"She told me she would go to charity to get her clothes, get hand outs on food, was living in a bedsit in Pimlico, sleeping on the floor, her children slept in the bed and I felt really bad. Then I saw her turning up at these most exclusive clubs."


He said he also knew Mrs Young and had seen her in "some of London's most exclusive" bars and restaurants, including The Arts Club in Mayfair, the Box nightclub in Soho - which has been frequented by younger members of the Royal family - and the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane.


The High Court also heard how Mr Young was involved in a so-called "flushing" arrangement in which a friends would write cheques to one of his friend's accounts which he could then access in cash.


George Constantine, a property advisor who is a friend of Mr Young's.


He admitted helping Mr Young, by allowing Mr Young's friends to deposit money into his account. Mr Constantine would then write Mr Young cheques and withdraw cash. He said he had give Mr Young between £60,000 and £70,000 in this way.


Rex Howling, QC, for Mrs Young, suggested the Inland Revenue may be interested in the "flushing" arrangement.


Last week, Mrs Young told the court she would settle for £300 million plus all her legal expenses.


She said Mr Young, originally from Dundee, who made a fortune as a fixer for the very wealthy, was worth "a few billion at least” and that when they were married they used to spend up to £5,000 dining out, visiting a restaurant run by Raymond Blanc, the Michelin-starred chef, twice a week.


Mr Young, 51, has yet to give evidence to the trial but has previously claimed that he is a victim of "financial meltdown". He is representing himself.


Mr Justice Moor has already heard a suggestion from Mrs Young's lawyers that assets belonging to her husband had been transferred to a 'lieutenant' via other people.


They indicated that transfers had come to light after a financial investigator examined Mr Young’s finances.


Judges have heard that the Youngs, who both live in London and have two daughters, separated in 2006 after starting a relationship in 1989.


In January Mr Young, a property dealer, was imprisoned for six months after being found in contempt of court for failing to provide financial information to his wife.


The hearing continues.

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