Non-disclosure divorce secrets highlighted by Panama Papers scandal
It is a well-known fact that Courts across England and Wales are intolerant of non-disclosure divorces. But the recent Panama Papers scandal has revealed numerous methods used by Britons to hide their assets from the High Court – and from their ex-partners.
Some 11 million files released by Mossack Foneseca, the Panama-based legal firm at the heart of the data leak, have revealed how several wealthy clients were able to conceal their net worth.
In one notable case from 2013, husband Scot Young successfully and unlawfully concealed his assets from ex-wife Michelle in businesses and bank accounts in Monaco, Russia and the British Virgin Islands – assisted by Mossack Fonseca and other offshore providers.
A Court offered a disgruntled Mrs Young a £20m lump-sum order, which she deemed a ‘disgraceful’ sum, as she believed her husband was worth ‘billions of pounds’.
Mr Young passed away as an ‘undischarged bankrupt’ in December 2014 and his ex-wife has since struggled to enforce the order.
However, thanks to a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2015, any divorce settlement made while relying on dishonest non-disclosure can now be reconsidered in the event of new evidence.
This means that Mrs Young, and other divorcees in similar positions, could now be in a strong position to appeal.