The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the wife of millionaire oil tycoon Michael Prest in one of the most eagerly anticipated divorce battles of recent years. Following the ruling on 12th June, which was reached unanimously by the panel of seven Justices of the Supreme Court, Mr Prest was ordered to transfer seven properties to his former wife, Yasmin.
The legal battle between Michael Prest, a Nigerian oil tycoon, and his estranged wife Yasmin has been ongoing for some five years. Although in October the Court of Appeal ruled that Mrs Prest could not make a claim on the properties, due to them being owned by Companies and not directly by Mr Prest.
This recent Supreme Court decision, based on the fact that the companies were wholly owned by Prest, overturned the previous ruling, allowing Mrs Prest to stake her claim on the seven properties once again.
Hailed as a ‘victory for fairness’ by many family lawyers, the ruling sets a precedent for any future cases of this kind where an individual attempts to shield their personal assets from a divorce settlement via company structures. The ruling is likely to have a knock on effect in similar divorce settlements, although the Supreme Court judges indicated that the so-called ‘corporate veil’ could only be pierced in exceptional circumstances.
Throughout the course of the legal proceedings, Mr Prest has been criticised for being economical with the truth in regard to the extent of his wealth. Whilst Mr Prest claims to be worth £48 million, his wife Yasmin claims that her former husband’s wealth could run into the hundreds of millions.
The forensic accountants at Frenkels Forensics are often instructed during divorce proceedings in which business owners are involved. Our team of specialists are often instructed on behalf a spouse to value a business or any shareholdings in businesses. We can also prepare forensic accountancy reports and carry out the necessary investigations to trace the assets of one party or other to substantiate proposed financial settlements following divorce.