16 May 2023

Sir Frederick Barclay’s ex-wife ‘astonished’ over legal spending, court told

16 May 2023

A barrister representing Sir Frederick Barclay’s ex-wife has expressed astonishment at the amount spent on the retired businessman’s lawyers.

Sir Frederick, 88, and Lady Hiroko Barclay, who is also in her 80s, are featuring in the latest stage of a fight over money at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

In May 2021, a judge ordered Sir Frederick to hand Lady Hiroko lump sums totalling £100 million following the breakdown of their 34-year marriage.

Sir Jonathan Cohen, who has heard that the money has yet to be paid, said then that Sir Frederick had behaved in a “reprehensible” fashion during the litigation.

Lady Hiroko, who petitioned for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, has complained Sir Frederick had not paid her as ordered – and alleged that he was in contempt of court.

Sir Jonathan subsequently ruled 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.

Barrister Stewart Leech KC, who represents Lady Hiroko, told Sir Jonathan that more than £1 million had been spent on lawyers representing Sir Frederick.

He said: “It is astonishing that so much has been spent on lawyers to thwart Lady Barclay getting what she is entitled to.”

Mr Leech also told the judge that Sir Frederick had arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice complex, where the hearing is being staged, in “style”.

“He came here in style,” said Mr Leech.

“Driven in a Range Rover parked in the judges’ car park.

“Goodness knows how that happened.”

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

Sir David died aged 86 in January 2021.

Their interests included the Telegraph Media Group and The Ritz hotel in London.

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

Sir Jonathan has been told that Sir David’s sons, Aidan and Howard Barclay, now have day-to-day responsibility for “group business”.

They are expected to give evidence at Tuesday’s hearing.

Sir Frederick has said has been unable to pay Lady Hiroko because his nephews “hold the purse strings”.

He has argued that a trust which could provide him with money is being “starved” of “funds from the family business”.

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