Kozel's $100m divorce settlement will unfreeze his GKP stock

The $100m divorce case of Todd Kozel, one of the City's most colourful oil entrepreneurs, is close to settling in a move that would unfreeze around 10 per cent of his company's stock.

In a hearing in Florida last week, Mr Kozel's legal team approached his wife Ashley's lawyers about ending the divorce battle. Mrs Kozel's lawyers had alleged her husband had squirrelled away his assets in investment vehicles that hold stock in Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) in an act of "divorce planning". The case has revealed much of the share structure of GKP, an AIM-listed firm that is sitting on a potentially great recent oil find, in Kurdistan.

Earlier this year, Mrs Kozel obtained an order from the Sarasota courts which froze that stock, stopping Mr Kozel and those vehicles from trading those shares. Around 11.6m shares in one vehicle, Gulf Keystone Petroleum LLC, will be transferred to a safety deposit box in Sarasota to ensure Florida maintains legal jurisdiction over aspects of the case relating to the company.

If the legal teams agree a divorce settlement, GKP will be left with one other case: US-based Excalibur Ventures says it is owed 30 per cent of GKP for introducing the firm to opportunities in Kurdistan, an allegation that Mr Kozel's company fiercely denies.