Forensic accountants expose ‘fraud, which is theft’
These are the words of Michelle Young, ex-wife of former property tycoon Scot Young, who even went to jail rather than disclose the whereabouts of his assets during their long and bitter divorce. Speaking to the Daily Mail last month in her first interview since a High Court judge agreed that Scot had lied about having no assets and awarded her £20m, Michelle Young is now embarking on the second part of her campaign – to toughen the laws surrounding non-disclosure in divorce cases.
Michelle famously used a number of forensic accountants over the 6.5 years it took to get to a settlement to trace Scot’s assets – or to get enough proof that he hadn’t been truthful, which would be good enough evidence for a judge to rule that he did have assets to be shared. One of these experts pointed out that Scot had written a cheque for £6m just before he allegedly lost all his money, while Michelle’s lawyer said after the hearing that the verdict “sent out a strong message to those across the world seeking to hide their true wealth from their spouse” and that experts would always find them.
As Michelle points out in the interview, non-disclosure is fraud and fraud is theft. She adds that what keeps her striving forward is her family and all the other families who have been wronged. People who hide their assets are also hiding from the taxman, so ‘disclosure is in everyone’s interest’.
Ironically, Michelle is now using insolvency lawyers to get the £20m she is owed, as almost nine months on from the settlement, Scot still hasn’t paid her a penny, having gone bankrupt, a ploy often used by spouses to stop proceedings. However, unfortunately for Scot, insolvency lawyers also hire forensic accountants to find out where the money has gone and, since Michelle is his biggest creditor, it is likely that she will get justice eventually.
Author: Roger Isaacs, 25 July 2014
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