Woman loses court battle with billionaire

Chris Gray
Saturday 04 January 2003 01:00

A former marketing executive sacked by one of Britain's richest men, Hans Rausing, has failed in an attempt to force him to pay her compensation.

Lanny Bezant tried to make Mr Rausing liable for £160,000 compensation awarded to her after she was sacked by the company that administered his estate in Wadhurst, East Sussex.

Mrs Bezant, 58, from Tenterden in Kent, was dismissed in September 2000 with her husband, Richard, who was sacked as Wadhurst Park Estates managing director after 22 years' service. The couple failed to win a claim for unfair dismissal two years ago because Mr Bezant, 56, was alleged to have fiddled expenses and filed incorrect tax returns. Mrs Bezant was, however, awarded the compensation last year after the company conceded she had been sexually discriminated against because she was Mr Bezant's wife.

She tried to make Mr Rausing – whose fortune has been estimated at £4.5bn – personally liable after Wadhurst Park Estates was put into liquidation and the couple became concerned they would not receive the money.

But her application for an enforcement order against Mr Rausing was refused by Ashford County Court in December and that decision was upheld by the court yesterday.

Mr Rausing made his fortune by selling the family stake in food packaging company Tetra Laval, which designed the original supermarket milk carton under the name Tetrapak.

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