Wife of Sir Frederick Barclay at High Court over £100 million divorce payout

·2-min read
Lady Hiroko Barclay was awarded the nine-figure settlement by Mr Justice Cohen in May (PA)
Lady Hiroko Barclay was awarded the nine-figure settlement by Mr Justice Cohen in May (PA)

The estranged wife of billionaire businessman Sir Frederick Barclay has returned to the High Court in fresh legal wrangling over a £100 million divorce payout.

Lady Hiroko Barclay was awarded the nine-figure settlement by Mr Justice Cohen in May, after the breakdown of her 34-year marriage to the owner of the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph.

A new hearing was underway at the High Court on Friday, as Lady Barclay seeks enforcement of the ruling made against her 86-year-old estranged husband.

Court proceedings in the Family Division at the Royal Courts of Justice are being conducted in private.

When the settlement – to be paid in two £50 million tranches – was announced in the summer, the judge issued a strong rebuke to Sir Frederick for his “reprehensible” behaviour during the divorce battle.

He said a court order involving the sale of a luxury yacht had been breached, with Sir Frederick keeping the money for himself instead of offering up the proceeds.

“Part of [his] available assets included a luxury yacht which was on the market for sale”, said the judge.

“I made orders intended to control the sale and the use of the proceeds. He completely ignored those orders, sold the yacht and applied the equity for his own use. I regarded that behaviour as reprehensible.”

Sir Frederick Barclay (PA)
Sir Frederick Barclay (PA)

Sir Frederick wanted to keep details of his divorce fight secret, but was overruled after Lady Barclay successfully argued his position “in the public eye” made publication necessary.

“(He) is a public figure who should have been aware of the potential consequences of disobedience of court orders and his behaviour in the proceedings should not be allowed to pass completely under the radar”, said the judge.

Sir Frederick and his brother, Sir David Barclay, took control of the Telegraph group in 2004, and also owned the Ritz hotel until its sale to a Qatari billionaire last year.

In a statement issued in May, Sir Frederick said: “I am saddened that after 34 years my marriage has come to an end. This was not something I wanted. I hope my former wife can find happiness. I wish her well.”

Friday’s hearing comes on the same day that Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, published a series of recommendations to increase transparency in the courts.

He said secret hearing in family courts are “undermining confidence” in the family courts, as he pushed forward reforms to allow contemporaneous reporting of hearings.

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