The press has been following the tragic divorce tale of Mr and Mrs Young. They separated in 2006 when it’s alleged Mr Young was worth some £400 million. It is reported that sadly he now claims that, and partially as result of the credit crunch, he is £23 million in debt and facing potential bankruptcy. Understandably Mrs Young does not appear to accept that so much money could go missing in such a short time but it seems the time limit set by the court for an explanation expired on 7th September and the case was back in the High Court this week. It was claimed on behalf of Mr Young that he had been unable to comply because he had been admitted to hospital apparently suffering from a mental breakdown. According to the press reports, rather than sending him to prison for contempt, the Judge has given him another 6 weeks to provide full financial details, as well as a medical report on his condition. One assumes this is to enable him to justify the reason for his default in circumstances where there seems to be speculation as to whether or not his illness could be faked as opposed to co-incidentally convenient.
Reading the reports which alluded to rent of £10,000 per month, expensive cars, jewellery, yachts, and maintenance needs of £48,000 per month, one realises that this is clearly a situation far removed from the routine divorce cases being decided up and down the country. The sum which Mr Young has purportedly lost in a period of some 3 years is more than most people spend in a lifetime, whilst a monthly maintenance payment of £48,000 would support many families for at least 2 years.
Ignoring social comment and aside from the spectre of a prison sentence (which incidentally a Judge can impose on anyone who breaches an order of the court), what really interests the press is, of course, whether or not the millions are simply missing, or indeed well and truly lost. It’s a kind of modern divorce detective mystery unfolding across the newsstands. A perpetrator and a motive have been implied, but the evidence is awaited.