07 July 2023

Sir Frederick Barclay’s ex-wife still waiting for settlement cash, judge hears

07 July 2023

The ex-wife of retired businessman Sir Frederick Barclay is still waiting for money she hopes will settle a long-running divorce court fight, a judge has been told.

Sir Jonathan Cohen said he had heard several times that Sir Frederick, 88, was going to hand cash to Lady Hiroko Barclay, who is also in her 80s, as part of a settlement deal.

But Sir Frederick’s adviser, Martin Clarke, told the judge on Friday that money had still not arrived in a bank account.

Sir Jonathan, who has been overseeing hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London, described the situation as a “charade”.

He said he would reconsider the case on Friday July 14.

The pair’s fight over money began more than two years ago.

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

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

The judge said on Friday he had adjourned recent hearings on the basis that a settlement was in the offing.

“I have been told on four or five occasions that this case needs to be adjourned because there is a deal that is about to come to fruition,” said the judge.

I have been told on countless occasions over the last few months that this is all happening … and every time it doesn’t happen

“At the moment I don’t have any certainty that it is ever going to happen.”

The judge  added: “I have been told on countless occasions over the last few months that this is all happening … and every time it doesn’t happen.”

He went on: “This has been going on for months and months and months.”

Barrister Max Turnell, who represented Sir Frederick, said money was being borrowed.

“Sir Frederick is borrowing money from another loaning party,” he told the judge.

“That loaning party has borrowed the money from a lender.”

He added: “It is not something that is in our control.”

Lady Barclay, 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.

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”.

In June, news emerged that the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator magazine were likely to be put up for sale after talks between their owners and lenders collapsed.

It came after the Barclay family denied that the business could face administration.

Howard Barclay gave evidence at Friday’s hearing.

He told the judge that prospective buyers might view the Telegraph group as a “distressed” asset.

He said he and his brother Aidan had been “trying to help” Sir Frederick.

Howard Barclay added: “At the moment the business is simply not in a position to do that.”

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