Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Financier must pay £337m in divorce

A financier has been told to hand about a third of a fortune of around £1 billion to his estranged American wife following one of the biggest divorce money fights seen in an English court.

Sir Chris Hohn, 48, and Jamie Cooper-Hohn, 49, had fought over who should get what at a High Court trial this summer.

He said she should get a quarter. She said she should get half.

Judge Mrs Justice Roberts awarded Mrs Cooper-Hohn 36% - £337 million.

The judge said Sir Chris - who was educated at a state school and studied business and accounting at Southampton University - was a "financial genius" who had made a "special contribution" to the creation of the couple's fortune.

She had announced the amount Mrs Cooper-Hohn would get last month.

But her calculations on the exact size of the fortune, and the exact percentage Mrs Cooper-Hohn would get, only emerged today when she delivered a detailed ruling on the case.

The award is thought to be the biggest of its kind made by a judge in England.

Legal experts say it is ''certainly'' one of the biggest payouts to be pocketed by an estranged wife.

But lawyers for Mrs Cooper-Hohn have indicated that they might appeal.

Mrs Justice Roberts concluded that Sir Chris was the "generating force", had "innovative vision", had generated "truly vast wealth" and had a "special skill".

She said his business success could be viewed as "exceptional".

"I take the view that he qualifies as a financial genius in his particular field of financial investment," she added, in a written ruling.

"In these circumstances, I find that, on any view, there has been a special contribution made by the husband in this case and that such contribution should and will be reflected in a departure from equality in terms of the overall award which I propose to make."

Sir Chris had told the judge during the trial in July: ''Over the long term I am an unbelievable money-maker.''

He said he was a billionaire and in the ''top 10'' career investors.

But he also said: ''I don't really care about money," and said money did not bring happiness.

Sir Chris had said he had visited the Philippines aged 20, seen poor children and vowed that if he ever had enough money to help poor children he would.

He said by his mid-30s he had been in a position where he could retire and raise money for charity.

Mrs Cooper-Hohn said the wealth had been created as a result of their ''partnership''.

She said she had worked long hours on behalf of their charitable foundation and travelled.

Lawyers told the judge that despite their wealth the couple had not lived a ''jet-set lifestyle''. The judge said their way of life had been described as a ''Swatch'' lifestyle.


From Belfast Telegraph