A London investor has called for a multi-million-pound divorce settlement to be renegotiated, saying that the financial crisis has made the order "both unfair and impracticable".
Brian Myerson, 50, an investor whose company, Principle Capital Investment Trust, has offices around the world, had been ordered in March last year to pay his ex-wife 43% of the total £25.8 million assets of the marriage - £9.5 million in cash and a £1.5 million property in South Africa.
But Martin Pointer QC, representing Mr Myerson, told the Court of Appeal that if he complied with the order his client would be £500,000 out of pocket instead of receiving around £14 million from the total assets.
He told Lord Justice Thorpe that "unforeseeable and unforeseen" circumstances brought about by the credit crunch had "undermined the assumptions upon which the order was made".
The barrister calculated that, given the new circumstances, the wife's share of the total assets under the order would be 105% and the husband's would be minus 5%.
The case could have significant implications for other City tycoons who are trying to get out of big money deals agreed when the financial sector was strong.
Lord Justice Thorpe reserved the ruling, saying that if the judges allowed the appeal, the settlement would have to be renegotiated before a judge in the High Court.
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Richard Phillips, a Partner in the family law team at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors said: "Given the current economic downturn, and Mr Myerson's financial circumstances it is understandable that he has brought this application.
"However, there is a danger that if he is successful it will lead to an explosion of litigation and could prompt many other divorcees, whose cases the courts thought had concluded, to follow suit. This could lead to problems in the future as to where to draw the line; it is possible after all for everyone to claim they did not know what the future held."