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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Brian Farmer

Judge says latest stage of Sir Frederick Barclay money fight is a ‘charade’

PA Wire

A judge has described the latest stage of a long-running money fight between retired businessman Sir Frederick Barclay and his ex-wife as a “charade”.

Sir Jonathan Cohen has been told that Sir Frederick, 88, and Lady Hiroko Barclay, who is also in her 80s, are trying to reach a settlement.

The judge has heard the settlement involves Sir Frederick paying Lady Barclay a sum of money.

He oversaw two hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London earlier this week and was told by an adviser to Sir Frederick that people were waiting for money to arrive in an account

Barrister Stewart Leech KC, who is leading Lady Barclay’s legal team, told the judge at a another hearing on Friday that money had not arrived in the account.

Sir Jonathan said: “Charade”.

Mr Leech replied: “That is our impression as well.”

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

“Sir Fredrick 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.”

Sir Jonathan said he had adjourned 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 cone fruition,” said the judge.

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

He 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.”

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 was told on Tuesday that the pair had been “trying to resolve the matter” and needed more time.

He was told on Wednesday that money had yet to arrive in an account.

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 later gave evidence.

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

Mr Leech asked him whether there was a possibility that the Barclay family might “regain control” of the group.

“I think that is a very sensitive question,” Howard Barclay told the judge.

“I would rather not have to answer that question.

“It is always possible, but I would rather not go into detail.”

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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