Russian oil worker who hid funds in divorce battle ‘in debt and renting flat’

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A 67-year-old businessman who five years ago failed to disclose the existence of an offshore bank account containing more than £500,000 during a divorce court fight with his ex-wife has told a judge that he is now in debt and living in a small rented flat.

The man, who worked in the Russian oil and gas industry, told Mrs Justice Roberts that his financial reserves are “negligible”.

He said he had borrowed from friends and was living in a two-bedroom flat in Edinburgh.

Mrs Justice Roberts outlined detail of the man’s “financial position” in a written ruling after analysing the latest round of a seven-year dispute over money between the man and his ex-wife at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

She said she had made rulings relating to the sale of property which featured in the dispute.

The judge said no-one involved could be identified.

She said the woman was Russian, but did not say where the man had been born, and indicated that the pair had lived in the Maidenhead area of Berkshire when married.

Mrs Justice Roberts said the pair had assets of more than £6 million when they separated in 2010.

In 2013, following an earlier hearing, the judge had made fraud findings against the man.

She concluded that he had failed to disclose the existence of the offshore account and had forged bank statements.

The judge also decided that the woman, who is 52, had undertaken a series of property transactions without the man’s permission which had resulted in a “financial loss” of around £1 million.

She said the pair had also run up lawyers’ bills of more than £1 million between them.

“Much of their married life was spent in Russia, where the husband worked in the oil and gas industry,” said Mrs Justice Roberts in her ruling.

“During the marriage, properties were acquired in Moscow as investment vehicles.

“The husband was earning a substantial income and was able to accumulate savings.

“By the time they separated in mid-2010, their assets amounted to more than £6 million.”

The judge said both parties had said they were now in debt.

“Her cash savings have reduced to just over £2,000 and she lists a number of liabilities totalling £545,000,” added Mrs Justice Roberts.

“He, too, is in debt and has incurred a personal loan from two friends in addition to a £20,000 bank loan.

“He continues to rent a small two-bedroom studio apartment in Edinburgh for which he is paying £1,300 per month in rent.

“His only income is his pension, which produces some £35,200 net per annum.”