The Sharland and Gohil cases last year made uncomfortable reading for divorcing spouses who had been less than forthright in their disclosure of their wealth to the courts. The courts ruled that financial settlements could be revisited where a party had been economical with the truth.
Hard on the heels of these two cases, the fall-out from the disclosure of the so-called “Panama Papers” continues to reverberate, affecting people across the globe who have sought to evade their responsibilities to HMRC and the public purse, and those whose wealth has grown by deliberately concealing and manipulating assets behind a veil of offshore trusts, shell companies and tax shelters.
Many household names, from politicians and their relatives to sports personalities, have been dragged into the scandal. The first political casualty was Iceland’s prime minister and it is possible that others may follow.
In some cases, such manipulation of the rules, although frowned upon, is not strictly illegal. However, such shenanigans in divorce proceedings will not be tolerated by the courts. There is a duty of full and frank disclosure. Nothing else will do, and failure to abide by these rules can lead to costs penalties. Specifically, following the Sharland and Gohil findings, cases can be re-opened and the court can impose punitive orders and costs penalties.
High-profile personalities who have recently divorced and whose names have been implicated in this scandal may well find themselves facing their ex-spouses across a courtroom again.
How we can help
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The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.