Lawyer struck off for hiding assets from wife in divorce papers

A solicitor who hid thousands of pounds worth of assets during the course of divorce proceedings has been struck off the roll.

According to the Law Gazette, Mamoon Rashid Chaudhary, formerly a member of South Yorkshire firm Oxley & Coward Solicitors LLP, admitted signing a statement of truth which failed to declare his interest in a property.

Chaudhary further provided a false explanation in relation to the proceeds of selling the property, saying he had lost the money in a failed investment.

In an agreed outcome with the Solicitors Regulation Authority Chaudhary admitted making the false statements and to being dishonest.

The Law Gazette reported that the tribunal heard that in the course of Chaudhary’s divorce proceedings, when he was required to set out his assets, he had agreed with the brother of one of his clients to sell a property valued at £75,000. This person became director of a company set up to purchase the property and Chaudhary lent him money for the transaction.

In a form submitted to the court, Chaudhary was asked to list details of interest in any other property, buildings or land: he left this section blank, and went on to explain that in the previous year he had invested £105,000 in a property venture which failed. The form was submitted along with a statement of truth confirming that the information was a ‘full, frank, clear and accurate’ disclosure.

Following the submission of divorce forms to the court and an interim hearing, Chaudhary applied to register his beneficial interest in the property and subsequently submitted an amended form to the court, admitting he had a 100% beneficial interest in the sold property.

The tribunal found the misconduct to be ‘seriousness at the highest level’ agreed that Chaudhary should be struck off and ordered him to pay £29,000 in costs.


Divorce costs £3,800 a year in retirement income

According to new research from Prudential, divorcees who plan to retire in 2018 can expect their yearly income to drop by £3,800 compared to those who’ve never divorced.

The Prudential annual study has run for the last 11 years and tracks the finances, future plans and aspirations of people planning to retire in the year ahead. For the those retiring in 2018, expected annual retirement income is £17,600 for those who have previously been divorced compared with £21,400 for those who have never experienced a marriage break up.

Prudential analysed the latest available divorce statistics from the Office of National Statistics. The figures, covering up to 2016 showed that, the number of people getting divorced has started to rise again and that those over the age of 55 saw the greatest increase in 2016 compared to 2015.

Landlord hit with bill after failing to clear up mess

A landlord has been hit with a fine after ignoring a court order to clear up mess.

Javaid Iqbal, 51, has been told to pay more than £1,300 in fines and costs after Stoke-on-Trent City Council decided to prosecute.

Council investigators were called in after residents complained about domestic waste, furniture, bricks, tiles, glass, scaffolding poles, planks and rubble being abandoned.

An enforcement notice was issued ordering Iqbal to clean up the site but he failed to undertake the work.

Rebecca Cooper, prosecuting said, “Complaints were received about the garden area at his property. A site visit was undertaken and waste material was found.

“An enforcement notice was sent which required the required the waste to be removed and taken to landfill and the land to cease to be used for the storage and importation of waste materials.

“The compliance period ended on February 1, 2017 and a site visit was undertaken on February 9 and the waste materials were still found so the notice wasn’t complied with.”

Iqbal pleaded guilty to breaching an enforcement notice at North Staffordshire Justice Centre.

However, he claimed the rubbish was mainly left there by a tenant who owed him £60,000 in rent and fly-tippers.

Mark Bromley, mitigating, said, “This is a property that he has owned for the past 10 years and he has never lived there himself. It is a fairly secluded and wouldn’t be seen by anybody travelling along Lightwood Road.

“The house has been rented and the last tenant was nothing but trouble by not paying rent and causing deliberate damage to the property. The tenant owed him up to £60,000 in unpaid rent.

“The vast majority of the waste has been deposited by the tenant and people driving up to the land and dumping it.

“Mr Iqbal decided that he would remove the tenant and he was evicted in October last year. It cost him £2,000 and took over a year. The masterplan was to get the tenant out and clear the site and because of this hassle he didn’t get round to clearing the site in the month he should have.

“Much of it now has been removed but he said that he intends to get some heavy machinery on site to level it out.”

Judge asked to decide whether wealthy businessman is already divorced

A Russian businessman claims his estranged wife cannot divorce him in England because they are already divorced.

The man told a High Court judge that he divorced his wife in Russia 12 years ago.

His estranged wife, however, disagrees saying that obtained a “fraudulent” divorce in Russia.

The woman, who is also Russian, argues that she should be permitted to launch divorce proceedings in England.

Mrs Justice Parker has been asked to decide whether any divorce in Russia is valid and is analysing the dispute at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

A decision is expected to be made a later in the year.

The pair were in court a few months earlier battling over the custody of their two teenage sons and had reportedly run up close to £1 million in lawyers’ bills.


Wife who signed pre-nup but got £90million in divorce wants £25million more

A wife who signed a pre-nup before marrying a multi-millionare has been given £90 million after their divorce.

However, she is fighting for more as she claims that amount is “unfair.”

Property tycoon, Gerard Versteegh and Camilla Versteegh were married for 21 years.

A court battle ensued after they split in 2014. Mrs Versteegh was handed around £90m worth of cash and assets in January last year.

Tim Bishop QC, for the wife, told three senior judges, “Mrs Versteegh is a mother and homemaker. Mr Versteegh is a successful businessman.

“They were married in Stockholm and immediately moved to England, where they have lived ever since.

“On the day before the marriage, August 27 1993, Mr Versteegh turned up at his bride to be’s home with a pre-marital agreement.

“She signed it without any legal advice or the opportunity for any legal advice.”

Mr Bishop added: “The marriage broke down in 2014 in traumatic circumstances. The trust between the parties and ability to co-operate was permanently lost.

“These feelings have only been exacerbated by a long and acrimonious divorce.”



High Court judge to rule on validity of Islamic wedding ceremony

A High Court judge was asked to determine whether an estranged couple who took part in an Islamic wedding ceremony in a London restaurant are validly married.

Nasreen Akhter, 46, claims her “Islamic faith marriage” to Mohammed Shabaz Khan, also 46, was a “valid marriage”. Mr Khan, however, has contested this.

Mr Justice Williams is analysing the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Lawyers have said the ruling will have implications.

The judge heard the couple had taken part in a ceremony in a restaurant in Southall, west London, in 1998.

Mrs Akhter, who wants a divorce, said the ceremony had been conducted by an Imam before about 150 guests.

She said Mr Khan had become her “husband” and he had considered her his “wife.”

She said, “From my limited understanding of Islam at the time it did comply with all the requirements. I saw him as my husband. There was no question in my mind at all. He always introduced me as his wife.”

Mr Khan wants to block Mrs Akhter’s divorce application on the basis that “we are not legally married.”

Judge says rich couple’s divorce battle a waste of time

A judge has described a divorcing couple’s battle over assets as a “scandalous waste of court time.”

Barbara Cooke, 58, and Michael Parker, 55 have reportedly spent almost £2m on lawyers’ fees while fighting over assets worth £6.6m.

Mr Justice Holman said that the pair had “completely lost touch with reality.”

The dispute was heard at a pre-trial hearing in the family division of the high court.

Mr Justice Holman said, “They have spent a third of their wealth slugging it out. These people have completely lost touch with reality. I don’t know where the responsibility lies; it’s probably shared.

“This is heading for catastrophe.”

Mr Justice Holman added that he estimated another £200,000 would be spent on lawyers if the divorce went to trial.

“This whole case is a scandalous waste of court time. Sometimes one can see cases where people are just absolutely determined to go on and on and on. I don’t know on which side the fault lies but this seems to be that sort of case.”

“I have reached the conclusion that there is no credible explanation for the fire on the evidence before the court other than it was set by persons on the direction of Mr Parker.”


Landlord ordered to pay for sub-standard home

A rogue landlord from Plumstead has been ordered to pay £4,000 after he left an elderly couple’s home in an “appalling” state with insufficient heating and major mould.

The home was investigated by environmental health officers who found the heating could not go above 16 degrees.

Other concerns were found including broken electric storage heaters, lack of thermal insulation, a non-working smoke alarm, lack of ventilators in the bathroom and kitchen, flammable polystyrene ceiling tiles throughout the home, broken roof tiles and gaps to the balustrade on the stairs and landing.

Landlord Mohammed Nadem Yasin was given several warnings, but failed to fix the problems and was subsequently taken to court by Greenwich Council.

Yasin, 38, was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £3,053 costs and £100 surcharge at Bexley Magistrates’ Court.

Yasin pleaded guilty to failure to comply with an improvement notice under Section 30 of the Housing Act 2004.

Councillor Jackie Smith, cabinet member for community safety and environment, said,  “This property was in an appalling and potentially dangerous state and the landlord appeared to have a complete disregard for the health and well-being of the elderly couple who paid him rent to live there.

“I hope this case serves as warning that we will not hesitate to take action against landlords who flout the law and rent out sub-standard homes.”