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Forensic Accountants Unravel The Knots

Member: Nifa

A wealthy former model turned fashion director, who was awarded £32m when she divorced her first husband, has just had her second husband jailed for contempt of court.  Following her divorce in 2004 from co-founder of French Connection, Stephen Marks, with whom she had three children, Alisa Thiry married Belgian businessman and property magnate Didier Thiry, who was allegedly only worth £8m when they tied the knot. 

However, during their marriage they amassed assets, including property in the Caribbean, worth around £40m and the row hinges on a loan of £13.8m given to Mr Thiry by a company owned by his wife.  The loan, which Mrs Thiry claims was never paid off, was described in court as “part of very complex financial arrangements between husband and wife”.  In addition, Mrs Thiry’s lawyers are asking how the loan will be paid, which Mr Thiry has also chosen to ignore.

Sitting in the High Court last week, Mr Justice Newton ordered that Mr Thiry be jailed for four months for “flagrant” contempt of court for failing to disclose information relating to the loan when ordered to do so by a judge at a previous hearing.  He also ordered him to pay £10,000 in legal costs.

The judge added that Mr Thiry, who is currently in Belgium and was not represented at the hearing, will be arrested the next time he sets foot on UK soil.  However he also gave him the opportunity of applying for a hearing to "purge his contempt" by submitting the information and apologising.

In cases such as these, both parties will be doing their best to prove that the financial exchanges took place – both the loan and its repayment – and the only way to do that with any certainty would be to employ a team of forensic accountants, who would analyse all the available information and then report back to a court with their findings.

Author: Roger Isaacs, 10 June 2014

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