Estranged husband of multi-millionaire could get jail term after contempt ruling

A wealthy 33-year-old woman’s estranged husband could be given a jail term after a High Court judge ruled that he had breached orders made during a fight over money.

Multi-millionaire Louise Backstrom, who is Swedish but lives in London, said Martin Wennberg, 39, was in contempt and asked Mr Justice Peel to impose a jail sentence.

Mr Justice Peel ruled in her favour on Thursday after considering evidence at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Louise Backstrom court case
Louise Backstrom has asked a High Court judge to hand her estranged husband a jail term (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The judge, who heard that Ms Backstrom was worth hundreds of millions of pounds, concluded that Mr Wennberg had breached court orders relating to the disclosure of information which had been made during divorce litigation.

He adjourned sentencing until later in the year.

Ms Backstrom was in court – Mr Wennberg, who is also Swedish, was not at the hearing.

Mr Justice Peel refused to adjourn the hearing because Mr Wennberg, who was represented by a lawyer, was not in court.

The judge heard that Ms Backstrom and Mr Wennberg had married in 2015 and separated in 2021.

He was told that a judge had yet to decide how much each should walk away with following the breakdown of the marriage.

A barrister representing Ms Backstrom had told the judge that Mr Wennberg’s “lack of compliance” with court orders was “egregious”.

“Not only has the husband failed to provide the documentation as directed but he has not provided any explanation as to why,” Michael Glaser KC said.

“The breaches are clear and obvious and must be punished accordingly.”

He said Ms Backstrom considered Mr Wennberg’s “failure to engage” and “attempts to delay matters” to be a “calculated and deliberate litigation tactic”.

Tim Grey, a barrister representing Mr Wennberg, had asked for an adjournment.

Mr Grey said Mr Wennberg was getting legal aid in order to pay lawyers dealing with Ms Backstrom’s contempt complaints.

He argued that there could be reasons why Mr Wennberg had not been able to comply with orders.

Mr Grey indicated that Mr Wennberg had health difficulties and said the hearing should be adjourned until he was in court.

The judge ruled that the hearing should go ahead in Mr Wennberg’s absence.