Former Runcorn entrepreneur who 'lied' about his £150m fortune wins court appeal (From Runcorn and Widnes World)
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Former Daresbury tycoon who 'lied' about his £150m fortune defeats his ex-wife's appeal
A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE former Runcorn businessman today defeated his ex-wife’s claim for more money from their divorce settlement.
Software entrepreneur Charles Sharland who paid his ex-wife Alison £10.3m after lying about the size of his £150 million fortune is celebrating victory.
By a two to one majority, 46-year-old Alison Sharland lost her bid to re-open her claim even though Lord Justice Moore-Bick said it was accepted her 53-year-old ex-husband “had lied to the court and misled both the wife and the judge.”
She was also ordered to pay the estimated £50,000 legal costs of her failed appeal, including those of her ex-husband.
The couple from Wilmslow had built a substantial fortune before separating in 2010.
Mr Sharland ran his company from a business park in Daresbury, while Mrs Sharland ran an autism charity.
They dismissed her appeal against the ruling of Family Division judge Sir Hugh Bennett in April last year that even though the husband had been “dishonest” about the value of his shares, it would not have materially affected the resulting divorce settlement.
The couple, who have three children, married in 1993 , separated in 2010 , and divorced two years later.
In July 2012, they reached agreement on a financial settlement with the wife getting £10.355 m in cash and properties following the end of their 17 year marriage.
She also agreed to accept 30 per cent of the value of shares in his company when they went on the stockmarket.
Self made millionaire Mr Sharland had claimed his shares in his company AppSense Ltd were worth around £7m. But when floated on the stockmarket the company was said to be worth £460m and his share around £150m.
Her husband told the court he had no intention of floating the company for at least seven years. But it was later discovered he was already in the process of doing so.
Mrs Sharland’s barrister, Patrick Chamberlayne QC, argued that as the couple had been equal partners in the marriage the divorce settlement was supposed to be the same.
He said : “She was cheated into an agreement. ‘If someone dupes you into a deal, why should you be held to a deal?
“This was a case of equality. It was a long marriage. All the assets had been acquired during the course of the marriage and each party had made their full contribution.
“Part of the wife’s case was that she was busy making post-separation efforts as well. She had the unusual task of lifelong care of the parties’ disabled child.”
He did not deny that he had misled the court but insisted the settlement reached was a fair one.
Lord Justice Moore-Bick and Lady Justice Macur with Lord Justice Briggs dissenting, agreed and dismissed her appeal.
Lord Justice Moore-Bick said said it was “unusual” when one side had not given full and frank disclosure for an order not to be set aside.
While this husband’s disclosure was “deliberate and dishonest” there were “good grounds” for concluding that it had not resulted in an order significantly different from the original.
In his judgment the judge was entitled to hold that the wife had not made out sufficient grounds for re-opening the hearing. Her appeal would be dismissed.
She was refused permission to take the matter to the Supreme Court but could still make an application direct to the Supreme Court judges.