Search for ‘bloom divorce’ on google and all you get is items about Orlando Bloom’s ‘painful separation from his wife Miranda Kerr’.

This post is about a different and altogether less attractive Mr Bloom (no, not the one off CBeebies either). THIS Mr Bloom is a fraudster, a man who has lied to his wife, his parents in law, his business partners, and the court in an attempt to conceal his ‘multiple calculated criminal frauds’. So naffed off with Mr Bloom was the judge, Recorder Cusworth QC, that he took the unusual course of naming everyone involved (apart from the parties’ 4 year old daughter) in his published judgments and of permitting the wife to use the judgments for other purposes (to help her extricate herself from the aftermath of the husband’s frauds which have exposed her to liability that she needs to sort out). Mr Bloom didn’t want to be named. That’s probably because he doesn’t come out of this smelling of roses…(if you’ll excuse the botanical pun).

Recorder Cusworth has delivered three judgments in this case – although they go back as far as the start of last year, they were only published at the end of the case, once the judge had comprehensively set out all of the lies and frauds that had been exposed and explained why he could not believe a word that Mr Bloom said (and also until time for Mr Bloom to appeal had run out).

You can read the judgments in full, but be warned they are lengthy and detailed, and quite difficult to follow.

Bloom v Bloom [2017] EWFC B108 (02 May 2017) is the first judgment. It tracks through the history of a fraud perpetrated by Mr Bloom upon his young wife’s parents, whereby he ‘helped’ them by arranging for them to buy a property in France as a gift for their grandchild (Mr Bloom’s baby daughter), and then interposed himself between the in-laws and the mortgage company, told them the mortgage payments were twice what they really were (forging documents that showed the interest rate to cover it up) and pocketed the difference. Once the parties separated, he denied that the property had been bought as a gift for the daughter, saying that he was so untrustworthy they (his in-laws) would never have been so gullible as to fall for it.

Here, to give full colour to the picture, is what Mr Bloom said :

[He] points to his own, inherent, untrustworthiness. He highlights…a number of circumstances which he says make it highly unlikely that the Applicant’s parents would have reposed any trust in him at all, including the fact of his criminal record for an indecent assault on a 15 year old girl – a fact which he says was readily discoverable about him from a google search; his getting drunk and offering cocaine to the Applicant’s uncle at their wedding ceremony in Monaco; what he describes as his physical and mental abuse of the Applicant – in terms he said: ‘From the very day of my wedding to their daughter, they had been aware and were constantly updated by Bela that I was a regular user of drugs, an alcoholic, that I had physically and mentally abused their daughter and had punched her even when she was pregnant…and that I could have damaged the unborn child…’; or the fact that, although their London flat was purchased for them mortgage free by the Intervenor and Valentin, the Respondent took out a £500,000 mortgage on the property to fund the marital lifestyle, and that, when he was gifted the money to buy himself a Mercedes, he spent the money and took the car on a lease arrangement. In his closing submissions he stated that, ‘My parents in law had more than adequate reason to mistrust me financially as I had abused their trust multiple times.’ Nowhere in his statements or orally did he deny that any of these events had occurred.

The judge didn’t accept Mr Bloom’s account. He held that the French property was indeed bought for the granddaughter and held in trust. The in-laws had to participate in this hearing at their own expense in order to ensure Mr Bloom was not able to argue that the French property was part of the matrimonial ‘pot’ to be divided up between the parties.

Bloom v Bloom [2017] EWFC B109 (04 December 2017) is the second judgment, which deals with the financial award between Mr and Mrs Bloom. Having decided about the French property, the judge had to go on and look at the parties other assets, income, debts and broader financial needs. Much of the judgment is taken up with the judge tracing through the interconnected transactions of 11 or so companies in which Mr Bloom had some involvement, many of which appear to have been property scams involving the use of bogus business leases to an imaginary tenant in order to produce an inflated sale price. This information seems to have been excavated at great expense through ordering various of Mr Bloom’s accountants to come to court, through trawling through Mr Bloom’s incomplete and inaccurate financial disclosure and public records and through cross examining Mr Bloom.

Bloom v Bloom [2018] EWFC B10 (02 February 2018) is the judgment dealing with publicity.

Here are some of the highlights of the judgments :

In the main (second) judgment, Mr Bloom makes enormous claims for capital and income against his wife, who is living off benefits, borrowing money off her defrauded parents to meet her legal fees, and caring for the parties’ daughter without any financial support. All whilst Mr Bloom is busy busy busy hiding his assets and business transactions. The judge’s explanation of his position is something of an understatement – even allowing for the fact that Mr Bloom was a litigant in person (assisted by Mr Bloom Senior as a McKenzie friend by the way), he says ‘I was nevertheless struck by the ambition of his open position’.

The ambitiousness of Mr Bloom’s position is perhaps made somewhat clearer if we explain that :

His lifestyle of the last two years reveals that this non-support of wife and child was very probably a deliberate choice of his, rather than a necessary reality. Since vacating the French property, following my determination of the preliminary issue, he now lives at a Monte Carlo 4-star hotel (he originally described it as 3-star). He asserts that the cost is c.€4,000 per month, which he says represents a discount from what should be its proper rate of €17,000pm. Such is the standard of living he feels is appropriate for himself, and the costs that he feels able to afford. He also acknowledges that he subsidizes his 19-year old Austrian model girlfriend, Eva, and it is the case that already one of his tame accountants has set up a company with her as a director, no doubt for a similar purpose to all of the other companies discussed above.

I have no doubt that in conducting himself in this way, he has been living beyond his means. But that is always how he has chosen to spend his life. In December 2016, 3 days after his statement seeking to justify a stay in relation to an order for him to make a costs payment, he took his girlfriend on holiday to Phuket, in Thailand. 

His overall rate of living may therefore be somewhere between £125,000pa and £150,000pa, at a conservative estimate. Whilst there is no tangible evidence before me that the Respondent can in fact afford to live at this rate, his determination to continue to do so, his ongoing unwillingness to be truthful about his financial affairs and his willingness to do whatever he perceives that it takes to generate funds to support his lifestyle satisfies me that he is not someone who needs obvious sources of income to lead an ostensibly lavish lifestyle.

Mr Bloom is not quite reduced to living in his garden shed with his veggies.

As to Mr Bloom’s honesty, and his compliance with the expectation that parties will give full and frank disclosure to the court about their finances, the judge said this :

Trying to draw the threads together of all of this disparate evidence, it is clear that [Mr Bloom] has been strikingly active in his property dealing businesses throughout the period of the marriage, and subsequently, of these proceedings. Yet it is also striking that he has never volunteered any helpful information about the progress dealings. He has operated on the principle that, however much the Applicant is able to discover, if he reveals nothing, she might not find everything, and so, he might get away with something, and so obtain a better outcome to these proceedings. That is, with or without advice, a deplorable approach to matrimonial litigation. Whenever he was forced during his oral evidence into an admission, or the revelation of a new piece of information not previously disclosed, he did so with no sense of contrition. Rather a shrug of the shoulders, and no doubt the hope that the next undisclosed secret would not be found. This makes it quite impossible for me to accept that even the picture that I now have represents a true and fair account of the extent of his dealings in the 6 years since the parties’ marriage.

It is quite obvious that [Mr Bloom] has not revealed anything that he does not feel that he needs to. It is also obvious that he is a man who takes to fraud and the telling of casual untruths in an attempt to gain financial advantage easily and without compunction. 

As well as all this the judgment mentions that there have also been proceedings about the daughter and non-molestation proceedings in which the court made findings of domestic abuse and rape.

It is not so unusual for the court to publish a judgment setting out this sort of stuff, but it IS unusual to include the names of the parties. It appears that the wife had probably reached a point where she wanted to be able to publicly disassociate herself from Mr Bloom’s outrageous behaviour. In most cases the Family Court will take the view that the most important thing is to ensure that people feel safe giving full financial disclosure – otherwise the court process doesn’t work. If it was thought that the court would easily be persuaded to publish all that private information extracted under compulsory orders, people would be (even more) reluctant to provide that information in the first place. But you can see from the extracts above, and from the full judgments, that this was really quite an extraordinary case of very bad behaviour not just to the wife, but also to her parents and to other individuals and businesses entirely unconnected to the divorce. Just because Mr Bloom has been named and shamed, does not mean that other husbands and wives will be named, even if they are naughty or nasty or feckless.

All in all, the judgments make Mr Bloom sound rather villainous. Which makes it all the more surprising that the press seem to have almost completely ignored these judgments – the case has many of the favourite components of a tabloid headline – wealthy Russians on one side, a scheming. lying former estate agent fraudster on the other, pots and pots of money, a husband living in a hotel in Monaco with young model girlfriend – and findings of fraud that enable the press to express themselves in far more strongly worded terms than they would have been able to dare do otherwise. It is exactly the sort of case where we would usually expect the press to be hopping up and down banging their anti-secrecy drum and saying that it is an outrage that they cannot run a story with a name.

The only items we’ve found relating to the case are in The Daily Mail, whose item is a mere shadow of the highly newsworthy contents of the judgment : Businessman’s identity revealed as judge says he has been dishonest during divorce court dispute with his Russian ex-wife, which doesn’t even mention the word fraud, and a short piece in The Times where the headline mentions fraud Property chief is a fraud, warns judge, but where none of the detail of the frauds is given. Both spell the wife’s name wrong.