17 August 2023

Judge decides not to punish Sir Frederick Barclay over divorce payment breach

17 August 2023

A judge has decided not to punish retired businessman Sir Frederick Barclay after concluding he had breached orders made during a High Court fight over money with ex-wife Lady Hiroko Barclay.

Sir Jonathan Cohen, who has been overseeing a fight over money between Sir Frederick and Lady Barclay for more than two years, said on Thursday that he had decided to “make no further order by way of punishment”.

In May 2021, Sir Jonathan ordered Sir Frederick to hand Lady Barclay, who is also in her 80s, lump sums totalling £100 million after the breakdown of their 34-year marriage.

The judge, who has overseen hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London, has been told that Sir Frederick has yet to pay.

He ruled in July 2022 that Sir Frederick was in contempt as a result of failing to pay about £245,000 he owed his ex-wife for legal fees and maintenance.

Sir Frederick subsequently paid that £245,000.

The judge said he had decided to make no further order in relation to that contempt finding.

Sir Jonathan has been told repeatedly that a settlement – in relation to the £100 million payment – was pending.

The judge has been given a figure of around £10 million in relation to that settlement but said on Thursday he had been told that a lender providing the settlement money had withdrawn.

The judge said Sir Frederick still owed his ex-wife £100 million.

Lady Barclay had last year argued that Sir Frederick was in contempt because he had breached court orders to pay her the £100 million.

But the judge ruled that he was not in contempt by not paying the sum – or a first instalment of £50 million – because he said Lady Barclay had not proved that Sir Frederick had the means to pay either amount.

However, it was ruled that Sir Frederick was in contempt by not paying the money he owed for legal fees and maintenance – after the judge concluded he had the means to pay those lesser sums.

Sir Jonathan said Sir Frederick had paid the £245,000. He said he also had to take into account Sir Frederick’s age.

The judge added: “I am left in the position of having no alternative but to make no further order by way of punishment.”

Sir Frederick and his twin brother Sir David, who died aged 86 in January 2021, were among the UK’s most high-profile businessmen.

Their interests included Telegraph Media Group and The Ritz hotel in London, while the family also has links to the Channel Islands and Monaco.

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