The legal battle between businessman and chef Michael Riemenschneider and Flora Mascolo, widow of the millionaire former owner of Toni & Guy hair salons, took a new turn at London's High Court today.
Riemenschneider, who was not at court today and not represented, was given a seven-day ultimatum by one of the country's top judges to produce further details of his worldwide assets. If he does not obey that could hand victory by default to Mascolo.
The order made by Mr Justice Males means that if Riemenschneider does not provide the necessary information by 23 December, Mascolo would be entitled to seek an order debarring him from defending her claim against him. If that happened, it would effectively hand victory in the action to her.
As it is, today's hearing cost Riemenschneider dear. The judge ordered him to foot a legal costs bill of £90,000 in respect of today's hearing and a hearing in November.
Mascolo's lawyer, Rupert D'Cruz, also confirmed to the judge that as well as the action in this country she is also imminently seeking relief against Riemenschneider in Germany and that this may involve seizure of his assets.
The case centres on claims that Mascolo invested €2.24m (£1.87m) in restaurant ventures by Riemenschneider.
At a previous hearing, Mr D'Cruz told the court that Riemenschneider had no money before he met Mascolo and said that in seeking an asset freezing order, they wanted to preserve his current assets so there was something to enforce any future court order against.
Mascolo is the widow of Guy Mascolo, who died aged 65 in 2009 of a heart attack. His business empire including more than 400 Toni & Guy-branded hair salons in 41 countries and the TiGi line of products, which was sold to Unilever for $415m (£332m).
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