It was a gruesome death that raised disturbing questions about the tide of foreign money flowing through British banks and property.
When bankrupt property tycoon and fixer Scot Young, 52, was found impaled on railings after falling from a fourth-floor luxury flat in Central London, many people – including his adult daughters – believed he had been murdered, possibly by Russian gangsters.
And today The Mail on Sunday can reveal that in a final phone call to his estranged wife Michelle just weeks before he died, Young gave a chilling premonition.
Scot Young went on to date American model Noelle Reno before he was found impaled in central London and his family suspected Russian gangsters were involved
In a heated conversation, Young said he was a ‘dead man’ if Michelle continued to investigate his former business deals – and even offered her £30 million if she stopped.
This newspaper has also seen startling new evidence that appears to vindicate Michelle’s claim that the man who liked to describe himself as ‘the secret millionaire’ was sitting on a pile of cash hidden from the authorities in a complex web of offshore accounts.
She has also discovered that millions of pounds have been transferred out of accounts possibly linked to him since his death.
A dossier compiled by a team of specialist forensic investigators hired by Michelle reveals a troubling financial relationship between her late former husband and exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who was found hanged in his ex-wife’s £20 million mansion in Ascot in March 2013.
Michelle, 52, and the couple’s daughters Scarlett and Sasha had been left all but penniless when the marriage ended in 2006. Young went on to date American model Noelle Reno.
Believing that Young had a property portfolio and assets in excess of £400 million, Michelle began what was dubbed Britain’s biggest divorce battle, becoming a figurehead for wives claiming their husbands had hidden their assets.
Mortgage Square in central London, where Scot Young fell from his death and was found impaled
In December 2009, Mrs Justice Black awarded Michelle £27,500 a month in maintenance, plus a further £6,000 for school fees and rent. Young promptly made himself bankrupt.
By 2012 he was under constant scrutiny by his wife and her teams of detectives, who filmed him carrying huge wads of £50 notes and recorded his phone calls.
It led to Young being jailed for six months for what a judge called a ‘flagrant and deliberate’ contempt for misleading the court about his finances.
In the weeks before his death the one-time fixer for the super-rich secretly moved large amounts of money between offshore accounts and was convinced that shadowy figures connected to his business activities were going to kill him.
Young told this to the police and several friends, becoming so agitated that he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act with symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks and paranoia.
Four days before his death, he checked into St Mary’s Hospital in Central London, claiming he had relapsed due to his excessive use of cocaine.
At lunchtime on December 8, 2014, he discharged himself from hospital. Three hours later he was found dead.
Scot and Michelle Young had not spoken for eight years when, in November 2014, he called out of the blue and began what would be their final conversation, which was secretly recorded by Michelle.
A transcript shows he began by apologising for ‘f****** up’ their marriage and acknowledged that she had ‘been a good wife’. He then wanted to talk about the £400 million she thought he had.
Michelle Young believed her husband was sat on money in offshore accounts and hired private investigators who linked him to a Russian oligarch who was found hanged
Michelle interrupted him to say that her team of investigators had found £800 million and evidence to show ‘lots of activities and a lot of money’. When Young reminded her that the courts had awarded her £20 million, Michelle accused him of fraud, money laundering and misrepresentation.
After a pause, Young asked ‘hypothetically’ if she would be willing to ‘draw a line in the sand’ if he gave her ‘£20 million tomorrow’.
He suggested they put aside their rancour and work together as friends. The former deal-maker for Russian billionaires and British tycoons insisted that he could ‘work something out’, and they needed to meet face to face and iron things out.
He said: ‘I will give you £5 million a year plus interest for four years, and if I am late on one of the £1 million payments, then you can bankrupt me.’
Michelle declined the offer. Instead, she threatened to expose his links to a notorious crime family and even threatened a private criminal prosecution.
When she suggested that he could get 15 to 20 years in jail, Young increased his offer to £30 million for an end to the hostilities and urged her to accept it, because ‘it’s the best deal you’ll ever get’.
‘You won’t get a penny if I go to jail,’ he told her. Shouting at her in frustration, he demanded: ‘Do you want a f****** deal or not?’
Michelle told him she was £28 million in debt to her creditors, which included the money she had spent tracing his assets.
Young urged her to ‘use your loaf… you put investigators on my tail and I’m a dead man’.
Noelle Reno, who dated Scot Young in happier times, before the secret millionaire fell to his death and was found impaled
Later, he yelled: ‘You’re going to end up with sweet f*** all. OK, Michelle. I’ve tried to be nice, I’ve promised both girls that I would try a compromise, but you’re just being greedy.’
Although the police and coroner ruled that there was no evidence of foul play, his daughters believe he was thrown head-first through the window.
So, too, does Michelle, who claims he may have been ‘bumped off’ by third parties who wanted the secrets of his complex business dealings and the location of his vast wealth to die with him.
The dossiers, which have been passed to Scotland Yard, lay bare an astonishing web of bank accounts and companies apparently linked to Young in the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Latvia.
Deposits were made from similar trusts in Cyprus and Mauritius, with credits appearing from Russian benefactors.
In order to conduct his complicated offshore transactions, Young used Mossack Fonseca, the law firm whose leaked documents were at the heart of the Panama Papers shady money scandal.
Young also became involved with a ‘sham’ property deal called Project Moscow.
By getting involved with Russian money, channelling investments to the project through offshore accounts that effectively masked the involvement of the controversial Berezovsky, Scot Young was playing a dangerous game – and one that Michelle’s investigation threatened to expose.