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Did Husband Own $17 Million in Properties?  Or Only $80K Worth, as He Claimed?

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Did Husband Own $17 Million in Properties?  Or Only $80K Worth, as He Claimed?

In a recent case called Hussein v. El-Awny, the court assessed the credibility of a recalcitrant husband who’d steadfastly refused to comply with prior orders to pay support to his wife and three children, to the point where he would rather be thrown in jail than pay.

The court explained the disputed circumstances around the husband’s ability to pay support:

The husband was born in Egypt and is a naturalized Canadian citizen.  He works in Saudi Arabia and earns a substantial income.  Apart from his interest in the parties’ jointly-owned matrimonial home … the husband has no exigible assets of any value in Canada.

This posed a problem for the wife when it came time to enforcing a prior support order, which mandated the husband pay $4,000 per month plus certain living expenses, based on a court-estimated annual income of $250,000.  When he was more than $21,000 in arrears, the Family Responsibility Office obtained a further order requiring the husband post a security bond for between $250,000 and $500,000, and to surrender his Canadian passport and other travel documents issued by Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The husband still paid nothing towards the monthly support or the arrears, and was arrested for non-payment.  After serving the required 90 days in jail, he then brought a motion asking the court to order his passport returned, claiming he could not afford to post up to $500,000 as a security bond.

The wife objected, stating that the husband’s alleged inability to either pay support or post security was simply untrue.  As the court explained:

The wife claims, and the husband disputes, that he owns properties in Egypt worth in excess of $17,000,000 CDN and that his net worth exceeds $28,000,000 CDN.  The husband has claimed that these properties are owned by the parties’ children or that his purchase of them is “in limbo”.

Aided by affidavit evidence from two of the couple’s three children (all of whom live with the mother), the father explained that he only owned one home – in Egypt – worth about CDN$70,000, and that he had paid a $20,000 deposit on an Egyptian apartment still under construction.

He explained that several other properties had been purchased as “gifts” to their children.  In one instance right after separation, the husband bought their 8-year old son a house costing CDN$110,000. It was now worth about CDN$220,000.  The husband claimed that similar “gifts” of Egyptian property were given to the other children, and that none of them were in the husband’s name.

Other real estate transactions, the husband claimed, were “in limbo” because of an alleged “legal dispute between the Government and the previous owners.”

The court articulated the mother’s response to these assertions:

The wife claimed, and the children denied, that they were being “manipulated” by their father because they were (as was she) financially dependent on him.  There is merit to her claim.  The information for many of the statements contained in the supporting affidavits of the oldest two children dealing with their parent’s financial relationship during their marriage and their father’s financial affairs could only have come from him and are, for the most part, argumentative and hearsay.  What is patently clear is that the children know very little about what their father has done, is doing, or what he has told third parties and the court in these proceedings about his net worth.  Or that they are complicit in his effort to mislead the court.

The court noted many inconsistencies between the husband’s financial statements – where he claimed to hold only four small properties collectively worth $82,000 – and a 2014 mortgage application, where he listed numerous opulent properties worth a combined total of over $17 million.

The court succinctly summed up its assessment of this apparent discrepancy:

I don’t believe the husband.  His evidence is riddled with inconsistencies.  Either he misrepresented to the lending institution his financial circumstances in 2014 or he has repeatedly lied to this court about his net worth.  The evidence is also clear that the husband has purchased, and probably owns, properties in Egypt some of which he has “gifted” to his children, one of whom (as already noted) was eight years old in 2008 and all of whom were living, and continue to live, with their mother in Canada pursuing their studies.

There is no credible explanation from the husband how in 2014 his net worth was $17,600,000 (at least) and two years later less than $200,000.

There is no credible evidence whatsoever that the husband is unable to post security as ordered.

The court continued:

The sole object of the husband’s motion is, in my view, the return of his passport and other travel documents after which I have no doubt that he will leave this jurisdiction never to return.  The wife’s support and equalization rights would be irreparably prejudiced in that event.  The husband is over five months in arrears of his support payments and, according to the wife, he has not been compliant with paragraph 5 of the support Order of with respect to payment of various housing and related expenses for the wife and children.

The husband’s motion is dismissed.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Hussein v. El-Awny, 2018 

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com