Simon Cowell has sent top lawyers to the High Court over "scandalous" allegations that he is involved in a plot to hide the £2 billion assets of a tycoon enmeshed in bitter divorce proceedings.
The extraordinary intervention by the X Factor boss came in the middle of a four-day hearing in which former model Michelle Young is accusing her tycoon husband, Scot, of using wealthy friends and associates to hide his multi-million assets.
The judge indicated his preliminary view is that there is "not a scrap of evidence" against Cowell.
Mrs Young says she is destitute and seeking maintenance for herself and two teenage daughters, but her husband says he lost his fortune through disastrous property dealings and is broke and cannot pay.
The 47-year-old estranged wife named Cowell as one of the associates in the conspiracy to conceal Mr Young's fortune.
Others include Topshop tycoon Sir Philip Green, restaurateur Richard Caring and Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky.
Mrs Young told Mr Justice Mostyn from the witness box that her husband, 49, was "a secret shareholder" in American Idol.
Cowell sent leading defamation lawyers Carter Ruck to court on Tuesday to state all her allegations are "completely without foundation".
Matthew Nicklin, appearing for Cowell, read a statement recalling that the judge had cautioned Mrs Young as she made her allegations on Monday this week, but she had stood by them, and they had made headlines in the press and media.
Mr Nicklin said the claims "are scandalous", adding: "I am here to make it clear that Mr Cowell categorically refutes the claims made against him by Mrs Young...Mr Cowell would never be a party to any attempt to mislead the court and the allegations made by Ms Young are completely without foundation."