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Bankrupt property tycoon in divorce battle

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A property billionaire who lost almost all of his wealth following his bankruptcy has been involved in a previously undisclosed divorce battle with his wife since 2013. At its height, his assets were estimated to be worth £3 billion and he was listed as the 14th richest man in England. Residents of the Greater Manchester area may have heard of some of his business interests which included the Shard, the Naval and Military Club in London and the former ancestral seat of the Rothschild family, Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire.

The Syrian-born property tycoon began investing in property after his father left him an inheritance, and by 2007 had become the 194th richest billionaire in the world, according to Forbes. The same year, however, the failure of a chain of fitness centres that he owned cost him in the region of £120 million and signalled the beginning of his rapid fall from grace. In April of 2010, after failing to pay £56 million in loans, he was forced into bankruptcy. Details of his divorce came to light after a court hearing in Jersey regarding family trusts.

Although his Lithuanian-born wife filed for divorce in 2013 and the court issued a decree nisi, the couple remains married while the High Court hears their case regarding a financial settlement. In spite of his bankruptcy, Mentmore Towers remains in his property portfolio. His original project to turn the estate into England's first 6 star hotel has been curtailed but development of the site is still planned. He also still owns the £5 million family home in Mayfair.

Reaching an agreement on the value of marital assets in an acrimonious divorce may involve complex legal proceedings. A person who is considering a separation may wish to consult with an experienced solicitor for advice on the procedures of a divorce before submitting a petition.