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Ex-husband to pay £6m legal bill

A millionaire businessman who hid his wealth from his ex-wife has been left with a £6m legal bill after losing a battle at the High Court.

26 January 2012

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The couple had a property empire worth £100m before the credit crunch hit, but the husband claimed the recession had reduced him to outright poverty and told a court just three years later that “he had only £87 in his pocket”.

However, his ex-wife’s lawyers disputed this claim when they discovered he was spending up to £15,000 a month on his credit card and more than £2,700 each month on renting a luxury flat.

The dispute has been going on for four years and the legal costs are now close to £6m – a sum Mr Justice Bodey described as “depressing”. “The costs of this long-running saga between a once married couple could amply have paid the £3.7m now in issue,” he said.

The judge said the divorce revealed "an unusual degree of animosity and mistrust" between the couple.

When their marriage collapsed in 2008 their combined wealth came to about £31m, which they originally agreed to split equally. But a deferred payment to the wife of £4.7m became the sticking point.

In late 2010 the husband claimed he had zero income and was “on the verge of bankruptcy”. The judge said the husband narrowly escaped being reported to the Director of Public Prosecutions for hiving off £16m to Lichtenstein without telling his ex-wife.

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