Found Out! – 6 September 2013
A judge in the High Court has ordered a divorce settlement to be renegotiated after a London businessman was found to have lied about his wealth when the settlement was originally made. In a landmark ruling, Sir Paul Coleridge ordered the settlement to be ripped up after the man, dubbed a “master of the half truth” was found to have deceived his wife to the tune of millions after she agreed to a quick settlement in a bid to reach “closure” on the marriage.
Sir Paul warned other divorcing couples that they have a duty to be honest with each other when striking deals or they could find that the same applies to them, even after the ink has dried. Of course, if the wife had had any idea at the time that her husband had millions invested, she should have asked her lawyers to employ a forensic accountant, as they would not have accepted the husband’s protestations that he was merely an employee of a company rather than having shares worth almost three-quarters of a million in it.
Forensic accountants are trained to go on the facts and drill down deeper into finances, rather than taking things at face value, so they would also have found out at the time that the husband’s firm had a £50m turnover rather than being dormant, as he claimed.
Once the investigation began, some three years after the divorce settlement was agreed, a further £800,000 investment in another firm was found and Sir Paul said that he found “loan debts” declared by the husband to be “highly suspicious”, particularly from a man he found to be “disingenuous in the extreme”. All of this could have been avoided at the time if the wife had asked a forensic accountant to investigate and her “closure” could have come with a much healthier price tag.
Author: Roger Isaacs, 6 September 2013
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