Willenhall fashion tycoon told to pay ex-wife £2.7 million
More than a decade after their divorce, a fashion tycoon's ex-wife has won a £2.7 million stake in his fortune after he was condemned as a controlling liar.
Glen Briers, a former teacher from Willenhall, built a £30m sports and street-wear empire from the family garage in the 1980s, starting his business with just £81 of his own money.
By the time he split with fellow teacher Nicola Briers in 2002, after 18 years of marriage and three children, the business was turning over £1m a year.
And it has since grown into a major fashion chain, with branches countrywide and incorporating brands Lambretta and Vision Streetwear.
When the couple divorced, Mr Briers, aged 61, gave his wife, 58, £150,000 to pay off the mortgage and she kept the their £700,000 family home.
She also got a £10,000-a-year salary, plus child maintenance – but he kept the business, which is now said to be worth £10 million.
After her relationship with her new partner broke down, Mrs Briers went to the divorce courts asking for more.
And in 2015 Judge Mark Rogers handed her a £2.7m slice of her ex's fortune, made up of a £1.6 million lump sum and 25 per cent of his pension.
In his ruling, Judge Rogers declared Mr Briers 'a liar' who resorted to 'deception' in trying to play down his wealth.
After their separation, he told his 'vulnerable' wife he was moving into a rented home, hiding the fact he owned it.
Mrs Briers felt 'bullied and intimidated' and her ex's failure to fully disclose his assets meant the financial deal was not worth the paper it was written on.
The agreement had been 'driven' by her 'dominant' and 'psychologically controlling' ex, the judge said.
The tycoon painted his ex-wife's account of negotiations following their separation as "pure fantasy and a cock-and-bull story".
But Judge Rogers "decided that the husband was lying" and that the truth was that there had never been any meaningful negotiations at all.
Mr Briers challenged the judge's decision at the Court of Appeal, insisting his ex-wife should get only a £500,000 lump sum.
The spectacular success of his business since the split was all down to his hard work and he had 'taken all the risks', he insisted.
Pointing to the decade-long delay in his ex-wife asking for more, he argued it was far too late for her to go back on their 'clean break.
But now three senior judges have thrown out his complaints and condemned him to pay the full £2.7m.
Judge Sir Ernest Rider said the businessman was guilty of 'deception of the wife and untruthfulness in evidence'.
Mrs Briers had played a vital role in building up the business during its infancy and was entitled to a stake in its success.
She only got about 27 per cent of her ex's fortune, and that was fair, ruled Sir Ernest, who was sitting with Lady Justice Rafferty and Lord Justice Lindblom.
Outside court during the case, Mr Briers said: "It's just very disappointing.
"The business went from a turnover of about £1m when we split to £30m.
"I didn't think she would do anything like this years later."