Frederick Barclay said paying ex-wife in £100million divorce was ‘essential’

Sir Frederick Barclay, the British businessman, was told on Monday that it was “absolutely important” that his ex-wife was “properly looked after” after he failed to pay a £100million divorce settlement.

Barclay, who had built a group with his late twin brother David that included properties, hotels and the Daily Telegraph, made a “proposal” to Lady Hiroko Barclay in the final stages of a protracted legal battle.

Judge Sir Jonathan Cohen agreed to postpone a hearing to hear the verdict in the UK High Court, urging both sides to “reach a full agreement”.

Barclay, 88, had appeared for an adjourned sentencing hearing after it was found last July that he had disregarded court for failing to pay his former partner £245,000 in child support and legal costs.

Legal documents filed on behalf of Hiroko Barclay claimed he “still hasn’t paid a dime for the £100million [divorce award]’ and ‘remain broken and utterly unrepentant’.

On Monday, Hiroko Barclay’s attorney, Stewart Leech KC, asked for a further postponement of the sentencing hearing after Frederick Barclay’s attorneys made a last-minute “suggestion” for a settlement, the court heard.

He asked for the hearing to be rescheduled to March 6 to allow more time for talks between the parties.

Leech told the court that for the time being there would be “no further enforcement by my client”, including a possible filing for Sir Frederick’s bankruptcy. In this case, a court would be asked to seize a person’s assets so that they can pay their debts.

“It is absolutely imperative that Lady Barclay be properly cared for. This case is unlikely to be completed by this time,” Cohen said at the court hearing, where Hiroko and Frederick Barclay were seated feet apart, separated by their legal teams.

Lady Hiroko Barclay’s legal papers state that her ex-husband has “still not paid a penny for the £100million [divorce settlement]’©PA

Hiroko Barclay last year petitioned to have Frederick Barclay jailed for contempt of court after he failed to pay a £100million divorce settlement awarded in 2021.

Frederick Barclay’s legal team then told the High Court that he was unable to pay the settlement as his assets were illiquid or inaccessible without the help of his late brother David’s sons.

The court was also told that a “war between the two sides of the family” meant his nephews failed to help their uncle access the funds.

Cohen noted that in 2022 Barclay had disregarded the court for failing to pay his former wife’s alimony and legal costs, although he also ruled the tycoon was not disregarded for paying the first half of the £100million did not pay premium.

Last August, Cohen agreed to delay sentencing by several months to give both sides more time to settle the dispute, adding he expects Barclay to “personally” confront his nephews.

Court documents produced by attorneys for Frederick Barclay for Monday’s hearing claimed he had a “manifest lack of funds” and that a contempt jail sentence was “unreasonable” given his age.

The court filing also said a meeting between the retired businessman and Howard Barclay, one of his nephews who runs the family group, was scheduled last week.

Frederick Barclay will next appear before the High Court on March 6. Frederick Barclay said paying ex-wife in £100million divorce was ‘essential’

Adam Bradshaw

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