Hedge fund couple agree Britain's most expensive divorce

Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:50pm EST
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By Kirstin Ridley

LONDON (Reuters) - Billionaire hedge fund manager Chris Hohn has been ordered to pay his estranged wife Jamie Cooper-Hohn 337 million pounds ($530 million) in the largest divorce settlement in British legal history.

The size of the settlement was detailed in a draft judgment, a legal source said on Thursday, cautioning that there could be last-minute changes ahead of final publication on Dec. 12.

The former couple, whose Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) is one of the top private charities in the world, have been feuding over a family fortune judges say tops $1.3 billion.

American-born Cooper-Hohn, 49, had sought half the assets. But 48-year-old Hohn, who runs his TCI hedge fund, offered a quarter, arguing that he had made a special contribution to their wealth during their 17-year marriage. They have four children, including triplets.

Their break-up has cast a cloud over CIFF, which has donated hundreds of millions of pounds to helping poor and vulnerable children in the developing world. A judge said he had been told it was in limbo because of the litigation.

Hohn had accused his estranged wife of criminal and fiduciary wrongdoing in the handling of the fund -- allegations she has rejected. During court proceedings, she said Hohn was controlling and aggressive and that she felt "constantly threatened" over how she ran CIFF since the marriage collapsed.

Thursday's settlement is eclipsed by the $4.5 billion Russian fertilizer tycoon Dmitry Rybolovlev has been told by a Swiss court to hand his estranged wife Elena and oilman Harold Hamm has been told to pay around $1.0 billion to his ex-wife Sue Ann in the United States.

But Britain, home to an increasing number of foreign and home grown billionaires, has a reputation as the divorce capital of Europe for the rich and famous.   Continued...