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Oil trader given jail term over divorce dispute

Published 24/08/2015

An oil trader has been given a 21-month jail term by a High Court judge who concluded that he had broken promises after agreeing to pay millions of pounds to his former wife following the breakdown of their marriage.

Wade Cherwayko - a former chief executive of energy firm Mart Resources, which is based in Calgary, Canada - had been accused of being in contempt of court by Moya Cherwayko.

Mrs Justice Parker has ruled in Ms Cherwayko's favour after analysing evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London in July.

The judge has outlined her decision in a written ruling, saying Mr Cherwayko's behaviour merited a "term of immediate imprisonment".

She said he had shown "contempt for this court" and shown that he was "untrustworthy".

Mr Cherwayko had not been at the hearing - a lawyer representing him said he was in Dubai.

And Mrs Justice Parker said he might "escape implementation" of the sentence if he remained outside the jurisdiction of England and Wales.

A lawyer representing Ms Cherwayko had told the judge that Mr Cherwayko had agreed to pay more than £5 million - but nothing had been paid.

Daniel Bentham said Mr Cherwayko had agreed to lodge five million shares with Ms Cherwayko's lawyers as "security".

He said Mr Cherwayko had not complied with that undertaking.

Mr Bentham said Mr Cherwayko had also not attended a court hearing as ordered, had not produced documentation about his financial circumstances and had not informed Ms Cherwayko about his worldwide assets.

He said Mr Cherwayko was in contempt of court and should be committed to prison.

A lawyer representing Mr Cherwayko had contested the application.

Duncan Watson told the judge that Mr Cherwayko was in Dubai.

Mr Watson said Mr Cherwayko's "financial situation" had changed since the agreement was made in 2014 due to a collapse in oil prices.

"He has little cash resource," said Mr Watson. "He has credit card debts."

Mr Watson said most of Mr Cherwayko's assets were in companies and shares were hard to sell.

Mrs Justice Parker said she had concluded "beyond reasonable doubt" that Mr Cherwayko had breached an order to attend court, breached an order to provide information and breached an order to lodge five million shares pending payment of lump sums to Ms Cherwayko.

"(He) has continued to show contempt for this court and its process and has shown that he is untrustworthy," she said. "Imprisonment is proportionate."

She said: "The fact that (he) may escape implementation of a custodial sentence by remaining outside the jurisdiction is no reason not to impose an immediate custodial sentence. He may not be able to remain outside it for all time."

The judge said Mr Cherwayko was likely to serve half of the term she had imposed.

And she said he could apply to purge his contempt.

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