High Court to keep payout ruling over Telegraph owner Sir Frederick Barclay's divorce secret


High Court judge delivers payout ruling over Telegraph owner Sir Frederick Barclay’s divorce from wife Lady Hiroko but keeps details secret

  • Lady Hiroko had petitioned for divorce on grounds of ‘unreasonable behaviour’
  • Mr Justice Cohen said no detail of his ruling on the payout could be made public
  • Sir Frederick Barclay and Lady Hiroko were formally divorced in court last week

A High Court judge has delivered his payout ruling over the owner of The Telegraph Sir Frederick Barclay’s divorce from his wife Lady Hiroko – but the details will be kept a secret. 

Mr Justice Cohen told Sir Frederick Barclay, 86, and Lady Hiroko Barclay, 78, of his decision at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court on Tuesday.

He allowed journalists to attend the hearing, and said Sir Frederick and Lady Hiroko could be named in reports, but said no detail of the ruling could be made public.

The judge had considered arguments at a private online trial two weeks ago over how big a payout Lady Hiroko should get following the breakdown of the relationship.

Sir Frederick Barclay (right) was estimated to be worth £7bn alongside his brother David (left) who died in January. Today a High Court judge Mr Justice Cohen gave his ruling on the payout resulting from Sir Frederick's divorce from Lady Hiroko, but the details will be kept secret

Sir Frederick Barclay (right) was estimated to be worth £7bn alongside his brother David (left) who died in January. Today a High Court judge Mr Justice Cohen gave his ruling on the payout resulting from Sir Frederick’s divorce from Lady Hiroko, but the details will be kept secret 

Last Monday the judge signalled an end to the 34-year marriage at a separate hearing, by issuing a divorce decree.

Sir Frederick and Lady Hiroko married in May 1987, the judge heard, having met in the 1970s when she was a well-known member of Japanese society in London.

Lady Hiroko had petitioned for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, he was told.

Lady Hiroko, who petitioned for divorce on grounds of unreasonable behaviour, has been seen with noted divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton at previous hearings

 Lady Hiroko, who petitioned for divorce on grounds of unreasonable behaviour, has been seen with noted divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton at previous hearings

Mr Justice Cohen pronounced a decree nisi. A marriage does not formally end until a decree absolute is made.

Sir Frederick and his twin brother Sir David, who died in January aged 86, were among the UK’s most high-profile businessmen. 

Last year The Sunday Times Rich List put their worth at £7bn. 

Their interests included the Telegraph Newspaper Group and The Ritz hotel in London. The family also has links to the Channel Islands and Monaco.

At previous hearings, Lady Hiroko has been seen with noted divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton. 

Known as the ‘Steel Magnolia’, Shackleton has represented everyone from Prince Andrew to rock star Liam Gallagher — and, most memorably, Sir Paul McCartney, whose second wife, Heather Mills, emptied a jug of water over her head. 

Mr Justice Cohen had considered arguments over how big a payout Lady Hiroko should get, following the breakdown of the relationship, at a separate, private earlier this month. 

In 1995 the Barclay brothers bought The Ritz and sold it last year, leading to a family row which resulted in court proceedings.

Sir Frederick's (left) interests include Telegraph Newspaper Group and The Ritz hotel in London. The family also has links to the Channel Islands and Monaco

Sir Frederick’s (left) interests include Telegraph Newspaper Group and The Ritz hotel in London. The family also has links to the Channel Islands and Monaco

The case revolved around claims made by Sir Frederick that his nephews bugged the Ritz conservatory over fears the businessman posed ‘a significant risk of harm’ to the family business, according to High Court documents.

The nephews – all sons of his twin brother David – allegedly made over 94 hours of secret recordings as part of what his lawyers have described as ‘commercial espionage on a vast scale’.

But Aidan and Howard Barclay hit back at that allegation in a public statement last year, accusing Sir Frederick of ‘consistent, misleading and damaging briefing to the media against us and our family businesses’. 

The Barclay brothers, who were knighted in 2000, turned to media ownership in 1992 by buying weekly newspaper The European, which closed in 1998, while they also owned The Scotsman from 1995 to 2005.

They acquired The Daily Telegraph for £665 million more than 15 years ago. 

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