Malcolm Scott, who once lent Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague his private jet, last week told a court he was "subsisting" on around £100 a week after the collapse of his grain and property empire.
His wife Rona, who supports her husband by working as an office receptionist, also said she was receiving working-tax credits, a benefit for the low-paid.
However, the bankruptcy hearing, at which Scott and his wife were asked under oath about their income and assets, also heard the couple are living in a £350,000 house in Bridge of Weir, thanks to a friend helping with their £800-a-month rent.
The court also heard how:
l Scott sold a Range Rover for up to £10,000 in cash, but the money went missing after a mystery individual took it away in a box
l He and his wife gave differing accounts of a burglary at their former nine-bedroom mansion, which they initially did not report to police
l Thousands of pounds of items from the house were sold at auction by a friend of the Scotts shortly after the break-in
l Despite being bankrupt, Scott said the Tories gave him a ticket for the party's lavish summer ball in June
Until recently, Scott was the biggest Tory donor north of the Border, ploughing in more than £1.6million in personal and corporate donations. He was a friend of Hague and the treasurer of the Scottish Tories.
But the tycoon's grain and property business collapsed last year after his companies failed to repay millions of pounds borrowed from banks.
Scott was then sequestrated - the Scots term for bankruptcy - in May 2012. His parents were later sequestrated after each guaranteed £10m of their son's debts. Scott's wife was also made bankrupt.
After creditors identified "matters of concern" about the whereabouts of assets, Scott's trustee, Blair Nimmo of KMPG, requested a rare "public examination" to find out if information was being concealed.
Knowing they faced a potential perjury charge if they lied under oath, Scott and his wife were quizzed on Wednesday at Edinburgh Sheriff Court by solicitor-advocate Ranald Macpherson.
Acting on behalf of the creditors and trustee, Macpherson explored 12 issues. These included:
Asked about his income, Scott said he was now "subsisting with the help of family and friends", and could "live off £100 a week".
On how he had been able to attend a recent Conservative Party ball in London at which tickets cost up to £1000, he said: "I was a guest. I think it was £300 a ticket."
Asked who paid for his ticket, he replied: "The Conservative Party. I was a guest."
Asked about her income, Rona Scott, who works as a receptionist for the HR Consultancy in Glasgow, said: "I have a salary and I also get working-tax credit."
She said a friend helped pay the £800-a-month rent on their home in Laurel Way, Bridge of Weir. Asked how much help, she said: "It's more a case of I earn a certain amount and any shortfall they pay. It depends. There's good months and bad months."
Asked about any other income, she said: "Just things like dinners. People are helping us as far as our social life is concerned, but not somebody putting money into a bank account."
The missing £10,000
Scott said he sold his Range Rover in March 2012 to car dealer Kenny Dunn, who paid "nine or 10,000 cash" for the vehicle.
However, due to a break-in, Scott said his wife felt unsafe with the money in their home, so she and a "builder called Dougie" took the cash in a box to her old schoolfriend's house in Edinburgh.
Scott explained the money then disappeared: "Someone turned up at [the friend's] door and said 'I've come to pick up the box'."
Although this was reported to the police, they did not issue an incident number. Scott said: "They said it was a civil matter." Asked why the police did that, Scott said: "Ask them. There were a lot of very strange things happening to me at that time."
Rona Scott said someone had called on her friend "saying they had been sent by Malcolm to collect the box and she gave it to them".
She said the friend thought the caller had been Dougie the builder, but it wasn't.
Despite saying only a handful of people knew about the box, when asked who might have taken it, she said: "It could have been anybody."
She said she had not reported the matter to police, as there was "no way to get the cash back", but that the police had since been contacted.
The court heard differing accounts of a break-in at the Scotts' former £3m Hillfield House mansion in Kirknewton, West Lothian.
In June 2012, Scott told his trustee of a theft "four or five weeks" earlier. He said "anything of value" had been taken, but he didn't report it until his trustee told him to.
Asked how the burglars entered, Scott said it seemed "a crow bar had opened the back door".
He said after he was called about the theft he went to Hillfield House. He said his wife Rona was there, along with their friend and local builder Michael Parsons, who had discovered the theft.
Scott said: "We went round the house. It was completely ransacked. I sat down with Rona to make a list."
His wife later told the court she learned of the burglary from Parsons in January 2012.
She said she did not go to the house for "a few weeks", and it was "not trashed in any way".
Asked if she had written a list of missing items, she said she may have told the police "verbally", by working "from memory".
In connection to the break-in, Macpherson asked about a sale of £7580 worth of goods at auction on June 7, 2012, shortly after Mr Scott had been sequestrated. These included an Elizabethan-style dining table and 20 chairs which went for £3000.
Scott said his wife had sold some items to "feed the family", but could not say what or identify lots in the auction catalogue as his.
He said he couldn't remember if the table and chairs were in the house before the break-in.
Macpherson said he would be blunt. "Are there any items which you claimed were stolen, but you subsequently sold?"
Scott replied: "I had nothing to do with that."
Rona Scott told the court that after the break-in she told Parsons to sell what was left and keep the money.
She said she did not know if Parsons had used an auction house: "I just told him to sell it. He was due some money. I said if you get any money just keep it."
In 2006, Scott reportedly spent up to £250,000 on paintings and other artworks from the world-famous Drambuie Collection.
In court, Macpherson quoted from the trustee's report, which stated that there were "a number of paintings that had been sold at auction in the period leading up to sequestration".
Asked whether he was aware the paintings had been sold, Scott said: "Rona told me that she was going to sell some things in the house because we had no money."
He added: "Whatever she got was pretty low compared to what I paid for them."
Asked when his wife had sold the paintings, he said: "I don't know."
Scott was asked about three companies in the Bahamas connected to him, one of which had the lease on a "two-storey condo".
He maintained the company was run through a discretionary trust controlled by a trustee.
However, Macpherson read a letter from the trustee, in which he said Scott told him to raise money against the property, then "instructed" him to call the deal off.
Scott insisted the trustee was in control.
Scott told his trustee on 12 June last year the only vehicle he had access to was a scooter.
However, it emerged in court that shortly before that statement, Scott had been driving his Range Rover prior to its sale, and shortly afterwards he was given the loan of a Mercedes by his friend Ewan Buchan, of Buchan Automative in Cambuslang.
Scott said the scooter remark had been correct "at that time".
Dunalastair Estates Ltd (DEL) was one of the many companies in Scott's empire. In September 2011, eights months before he was sequestrated, the court heard Scott transferred 99 of the firm's 100 shares to his son Oliver.
Scott said he believed the shares had no value, but wanted his son to have "a vehicle to go into business if he wished to do so".
However, after he was sequestrated, Scott said he discovered DEL owned a boat - a Botnia Targa 27.1 - called Breakwater, which he did not disclose to his trustee.
He blamed "an error on my part", adding the boat had since been "surrendered" against his debts.
A boat fitting the same description is currently on sale online, reduced from €115,000 to €90,000 "for quick sale".
Scott was even asked about his Twitter account. In one tweet he wrote that he was looking for land in London for "a client".
However he denied in court that he had a client - and was therefore back in business - saying it referred to the client of a friend instead.