Sir Frederick Barclay’s ex-wife fails to prove contempt claim over £100m divorce payment

Lady Hiroko Barclay claimed Sir Frederick had the means to pay the money but was refusing to do so

Matt Mathers
Thursday 28 July 2022 16:08 BST
Sir Frederick Barclay at the Royal Courts of Justice in London
Sir Frederick Barclay at the Royal Courts of Justice in London (PA Wire)

Sir Frederick Barclay’s ex-wife has failed to prove a contempt of court claim against him for not paying a £100m divorce settlement.

Earlier this year Sir Frederick, 86, was ordered to pay his estranged wife, Lady Hiroko Barclay, 79, two installments of £50m each.

Mr Justice Cohen began considering the latest stage of the pair’s dispute over money 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 claimed he had breached orders after being told to pay her more than £100 million following the breakdown of their 34-year marriage, and that he was in contempt of court.

The judge ruled against her on Thursday afternoon. He did not find Sir Frederick in contempt of court but did rule that he breached a court order by not paying Lady Barclays £185,000 legal fees and £60,000 in monthly maintenance.

Mr Justice Cohen said he would consider what the consequences of Sir Frederick’s breaches of orders relating to legal fees and maintenance might be at a hearing on 11 August.

At a previous hearing Mr Justice Cohen said Sir Frederick had breached a court order to sell a luxury yacht to fund the payment. He told the court the businessman had  sold the boat and kept the proceeds for himself.

The court was previously told Sir Frederick, once one of the richest men in the UK, had been relying on his nephews to pay for his legal costs in the divorce battle after being evicted from his luxury apartment.

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

He disputed her allegations and claimed he does not have access to funds, saying the money is held in trusts.

Lady Barclay says “loan notes” were at Sir Frederick’s disposal, and her lawyer told the judge they were worth £545 million.

She also argues that he has an interest in Brecqhou, in the Channel Islands, where Sir David lived.

Lawyer Marcus Dearle, who is based at Miles Preston and represents Sir Frederick, has told the judge in a written statement that “all steps” had been taken to raise money owed.

He said it had become clear there were “only two viable routes” to try to raise the lump sums: Sir Frederick could try to sell his interest in the island of Brecqhou and/or attempt to redeem loan notes issued by two trusts.

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

Sir Frederick, along with his twin brother Sir David Barclay, who died earlier this year, were among the UK’s most high-profile businessmen and have stakes in the Telegraph Media Group and the luxury Ritz hotel in London.

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