Ex-wife of Sir Frederick Barclay loses High Court bid to hold him in contempt

·2-min read

The ex-wife of businessman Sir Frederick Barclay has failed to prove that he is in contempt of court as a result of not paying tens of millions of pounds he owes her following the breakdown of their marriage.

Lady Hiroko Barclay argued that Sir Frederick had breached a judge’s order – and had the means to pay but had not.

Judge Sir Jonathan Cohen ruled against her on Thursday, but did rule that Sir Frederick had breached other orders relating to the payment of legal fees and maintenance.

Lady Hiroko Barclay (left) leaves the High Court (Kirsty O'Connor/PA)
Lady Hiroko Barclay (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

He began considering the latest stage of a dispute over money between Sir Frederick and Lady Hiroko Barclay, 79, at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London earlier this week.

Lady Barclay had asked the judge to hand Sir Frederick a jail sentence.

She said Sir Frederick had breached orders after being told to pay her more than £100 million following the breakdown of their 34-year marriage, and was in contempt of court

Lady Barclay told Sir Jonathan that Sir Frederick had the means to pay but is aiming to “string things out” until “one or other of us dies”.

Sir Frederick disputed her allegations, saying he does not have access to funds and that money is held in trusts.

Lawyer Marcus Dearle, who represents Sir Frederick, had told the judge that “all steps” had been taken to raise money owed.

The Barclay brothers were among the UK’s most high-profile businessmen, with business interests including Telegraph Media Group and The Ritz hotel in London.

Sir David died in January last year, aged 86.

Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay after receiving their knighthoods
Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay (Michael Stephens/PA)

Sir Jonathan had earlier ruled that Sir Frederick should pay Lady Barclay sums totalling £100 million after overseeing their fight over money.

The judge criticised Sir Frederick, saying he had behaved in a “reprehensible” fashion.

He said the businessman had sold a luxury yacht and “applied the equity for his own use”, in breach of orders.

The judge said Lady Barclay had wanted £120 million and Sir Frederick had made an offer which might have led to her getting nothing.

Sir Frederick had been ordered to make two £50 million payments.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting