A “fabulously” wealthy Swedish businesswoman’s estranged husband has been given a four-week jail term by a High Court judge who concluded that he had breached orders made during a legal battle over money.
Louise Backstrom and businessman Martin Wennberg, who are both in their 30s, have been embroiled in a private family court dispute in London following a relationship breakdown.
Judges have heard how both are Swedish but based in London.
Mr Justice Peel, who has described Ms Backstrom as “fabulously wealthy”, had made orders relating to the provision of financial information, and orders aimed at keeping information confidential, during the fight over money.
He had concluded, earlier this year, that Mr Wennberg was in contempt of court and “guilty” of “10 separate breaches” of orders.
The judge had, in July, imposed a suspended prison term – and on Friday ruled that Mr Wennberg should be sent to jail.
Lawyers representing Ms Backstrom argued, on Friday, that Mr Wennberg should be jailed because he had still not complied with orders.
Mr Wennberg mounted arguments in his defence and said he had done his “best” to comply.
Mr Justice Peel, who on Friday oversaw a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court at the Royal Courts of Justice complex in London decided that Mr Wennberg had still not complied with some orders, and imposed a four-week jail term.
He said Mr Wennberg could make an application to “purge” his contempt.
A barrister representing Ms Backstrom had described Mr Wennberg’s “lack of compliance” with court orders was “egregious”.
Michael Glaser KC told Mr Justice Peel, on Friday, that Mr Wennberg’s failure to comply showed “utter contempt”.
“It shows the utter contempt this man has for the court and court orders,” he said.
“This has got to be one of the most egregious examples.”
He said Mr Wennberg had been given a year to comply with orders and added: “There is nothing stopping this man from having done anything in this last year.”
Mr Glaser argued that Mr Wennberg should be sent to jail.
Mr Wennberg, who was not represented by lawyers, said he had tried to comply.
“I am very stressed,” he told the judge. “I am very nervous.
“I have not slept for the last three nights trying to do my best to make sure I comply with everything.”
He added: “I have pushed myself harder than ever to make sure I do this.”
Mr Justice Peel said there had been a “sequence of failures” by Mr Wennberg.
“He has in reality ignored almost every order which has been made by me,” said the judge.
“He effectively withdrew from proceedings.”
The judge added: “I regret that it has come to this.”
He said the imposition of a jail term marked his “disapproval” with Mr Wennberg’s non-compliance.
The judge said evidence showed that Mr Wennberg had assets of around £1.8 million.
Another judge had earlier made decisions about the division of money.
Deputy High Court judge Leslie Samuels had concluded that Ms Backstrom was worth about £250 million and ruled that she should hand Mr Wennberg more than £6.5 million, following the breakdown of their six-year marriage.
He heard that Ms Backstrom was involved in a family business started and controlled by her grandfather.
Mr Wennberg had wanted a financial package worth more than £40 million but Judge Samuels ruled against him.
Judge Samuels heard how Ms Backstrom had made a £6.5 million “housing fund” offer in accordance with the terms of a pre-marital agreement – and concluded that the agreement should carry “full weight”.
He said Ms Backstrom should also hand over about £60,000 a year for six years to meet Mr Wennberg’s “income needs”.