Billionaire's ex-wife petitions High Court to jail him over divorce

Ex-wife of billionaire Ritz co-owner Sir Frederick Barclay asks for the 87-year-old to be JAILED for failing to pay her millions after one of Britain’s biggest divorces

  • Lady Hiroko Barclay wants her ex husband Sir Frederick jailed for contempt
  • She claims her 87-year-old former husband has breached earlier court orders
  • Judges in may said Lady Barclay should be paid a lump sum totalling £100m
  • A judge today ruled the court case would be heard in public in the new year 

Businessman Sir Frederick Barclay’s ex-wife has asked a judge to commit him to prison after alleging that he breached orders made in a High Court fight over money.

Lady Hiroko Barclay said 87-year-old Sir Frederick is in contempt of court and accused him of breaching orders relating to the payment of money and production of documents.

Detail of her application emerged at a preliminary online public hearing, overseen by judge Sir Jonathan Cohen, in the Family Division of the High Court on Thursday.

Lawyers representing Sir Frederick indicated he would mount a defence.

Sir Jonathan ruled in May that Lady Barclay should receive lump sums totalling £100 million following the breakdown of a 34-year marriage.

Lady Hiroko Barclay, pictured outside the Family Division of the High Court in London claims her husband should be committed to prison for contempt of court after he failed to pay her money agreed in an earlier hearing

She said her former husband has failed to hand over half of the £100m payment and produce documents which had been ordered by the court

She says Sir Frederick has breached orders made by Sir Jonathan to hand over half of the £100 million and to produce documents.

Committal hearings are normally heard in public.

Lawyers representing Sir Frederick had argued that Lady Barclay’s application should be considered at private hearings, as evidence relating to confidential financial information would be aired.

Sir Jonathan dismissed that application and said hearings would be staged in public, but he indicated that it might be necessary to hear some evidence in private or impose reporting restriction.

He said the final hearing would be staged early next year.

Lawyers representing Sir Frederick asked if the final hearing could be staged online to avoid him having to travel because of his age.

The judge did not rule out that possibility.

Sir Frederick and his twin brother Sir David were among the UK’s most high-profile businessmen.

Sir David died aged 86 in January.

Their business interests included Telegraph Newspaper Group and The Ritz hotel in London.

The family also has links to the Channel Islands and Monaco.

Sir Jonathan has overseen private hearings relating to the Barclays’ fight over money. He allowed reporters to attended hearings, name Sir Frederick and Lady Barclay, and report some detail.

The judge criticised Sir Frederick in a ruling in May, saying he had behaved in a ‘reprehensible’ fashion during the dispute.

Sir Jonathan said Sir Frederick had sold a luxury yacht and ‘applied the equity for his own use’ in breach of orders.

He ruled Lady Barclay should get £100 million.

The judge said she had wanted £120 million and Sir Frederick had made an offer which might have led her to getting nothing.

Lady Barclay returned to court in October to make an application for enforcement of the judge’s award.

A barrister representing Lady Barclay outlined the basis of her application to the judge on Thursday.

Sir Frederick Barclay, pictured leaving the High Court in London has indicated he will mount a full defence to his wife’s claim

Stewart Leech QC said she was applying for Sir Frederick to be committed to prison for breaching an order to produce documents and pay £50 million.

Charles Howard QC, who represented Sir Frederick, said Lady Barclay would have to show he had the ‘means to meet’ the £50 million and had ‘wilfully refused or neglected’ to pay.

Mr Leech and the PA news agency had argued that committal hearings should be in public.

He also said it would be ‘highly unusual’ for a final committal hearing to be staged online.

Sir Jonathan said Sir Frederick’s application for a private hearing was ‘plainly unsustainable’, but the application for remote committal hearings only arose because of Sir Frederick’s age.

Both Sir Frederick and Lady Barclay, who is in her 70s, attended Thursday’s hearing.

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