The Scott brothers have been major players in South Africa’s horse racing scene for half a century, with Des and Robin (left and right above) having co-owned a stud farm in Nottingham Road, KwaZulu-Natal.
That was just one part Des’ highly successful business empire, which started with shoe stores in the 1970s, and has grown to encompass global investments that place the value of his trust in the hundreds of millions.
One UK trust alone is worth £15 million, or around R330 million.
Des is 91, and now his health and financial affairs are at the centre of a bitter dispute, reports the Sunday Times:
[He] has fought off a court bid by his children and brother to appoint a curator to handle his financial affairs.
The relatives of Des Scott claim he is suffering from dementia, that his second wife, Jacky, is siphoning off his money, neglecting him and preventing them from seeing him.
In an affidavit he said that though he is 91, he is perfectly capable of handling his own affairs with the assistance of a “trusted group” of financial, legal and medical advisers, and that he is perfectly happy with his wife, Jacqueline Barrington, who he refers to as Jacky.
The judge ruled in favour of Des, saying the family’s animosity towards Jacky “was clear”, and that they were acting only to protect their inheritance.
Des’ four children, along with Robin, began litigation procedures last July and requested that he be placed in a luxury care facility, as well as wanting a curator put in place to manage his financial affairs.
Scott, in his affidavits, was adamant that he wanted to “live out his years” in the flat in La Lucia that has been his home for 44 years. He said he was “of sound mind” and able to make his own decisions, and there was no basis for his children to suggest otherwise.
“I am upset that my children have resorted to this litigation. I have been very generous to them. I love them and will always love them. But I think that they do not respect my privacy, autonomy, choice of soulmate and the decisions I make.”
The family argue that Jacky, who is 35 years younger than Des, “ill-treats and abuses him”, and that the pair married “clandestinely” two years ago.
In delivering the ruling, judge Mahendra Chetty said that whilst the 91-year-old may have “an Alzheimer’s type of dementia”, that was not enough to say definitively that he cannot manage his own financial affairs.
Despite the fact that Des may have come out tops in the court battle, there don’t appear to be any real winners in this now public family affair.
Read the full Sunday Times report here.
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