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UK tycoon faces jail menace over failure to pay ex-wife upkeep and authorized prices

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British enterprise tycoon Sir Frederick Barclay faces the opportunity of a brief jail sentence after a choose discovered him in contempt of court docket for failing to pay his former spouse upkeep and authorized prices totalling £245,000.

However in his Excessive Courtroom judgment on Thursday, Sir Jonathan Cohen, dominated the 87-year-old was not in contempt for failing to pay the primary half of a £100mn divorce award.

The choose stated that he was “unable to conclude to the legal normal that [Frederick Barclay] . . . had the means to pay” the £50mn that his former spouse Woman Hiroko Barclay ought to have acquired final yr.

Nevertheless, Cohen dominated the octogenarian may pay £245,000 to his ex-wife, comprising £185,000 in legal prices and £60,000 in upkeep funds, as he “had the means and entry” to pay these a lot smaller sums. Failure to pay carries a most sentence of as much as six weeks in jail. The choose adjourned sentencing to August 11.

Hiroko Barclay, 79, had taken her ex-husband to court docket after he had didn’t pay her any a part of the £100mn divorce settlement. Cohen stated his ruling did “not in any approach cut back the husband’s legal responsibility to pay the sum”.

Legal professionals for Frederick Barclay, as soon as one in every of Britain’s wealthiest males, informed the court docket he couldn’t afford to pay his ex-wife as a result of he had handed management of the enterprise empire he helped construct along with his late twin brother David to his three nephews. His daughter, Amanda owns 25 per cent.

His attorneys argued Frederick’s property have been both illiquid or couldn’t be accessed with out the co-operation of David’s sons, who refused to assist following a household feud. The court docket was informed by Hiroko’s authorized staff that the tycoon holds mortgage notes value £545mn in a belief, and half the Channel island of Brecqhou, on which the Barclay household constructed a mock-Gothic fort.

Cohen stated he had “heard nothing” from the nephews, including: “It is extremely putting that relatively than help to find an answer to what must be a matter of honour to this household, they refuse to supply data, hiding behind the partitions of the belief construction.”

Commenting on the complexity of the construction of the household’s enterprise holdings, the choose stated Frederick Barclay had “completely excluded [his] spouse from any data, not to mention dialogue of economic affairs and saved her in the dead of night constant along with his strategy to minimising taxes and [keeping] management”.

Frederick Barclay appeared in court docket wearing a blue velvet smoking jacket and purple trousers, sitting a brief distance from his ex-wife, who was sporting a navy swimsuit with trainers to obtain the ruling.

The listening to has laid naked a rift on the coronary heart of one in every of Britain’s strongest — and notoriously secretive — households, who constructed a sprawling enterprise empire spanning lodges, together with London’s Ritz, and the Telegraph Media Group.

Tensions between the 2 sides of the household erupted in a court docket battle that started in 2020 through which Frederick and his daughter Amanda accused the nephews of bugging their conversations on the Ritz and was settled final yr.

Frederick Barclay’s barrister informed the court docket earlier this week {that a} “battle between the 2 sides of the household” meant his nephews wouldn’t assist their uncle entry funds, together with mortgage notes linked to the household enterprise.

Giving judgment, Cohen stated it could be “past comprehension if the nephews [were] not in search of to help to find an answer” however he had “heard nothing from them” besides functions to limit media reporting of the listening to.

Hiroko Barclay had earlier informed the court docket her former husband was “ready for me to die”. In a witness assertion she stated he had “wilfully decided to not progress any efforts” to pay her, including “his goal is just to string issues out, hiding behind an online of advanced buildings”. 

Her barrister had argued it was “implausible” that her consumer’s ex-husband couldn’t entry cash as a result of his nephews have been paying £1mn for his or her uncle’s authorized prices. Frederick Barclay’s attorneys argued in court docket paperwork that the funds “didn’t symbolize a therapeutic of familial relations” however mirrored the “utmost gravity of the proceedings”.

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