Beds, Herts & Bucks

Laura Ashley boss to pay ex-wife £64m divorce settlement

Pauline Chai Image copyright PA
Image caption Pauline Chai was Miss Malaysia 1969

The former wife of a Laura Ashley boss should receive a £64m divorce settlement, a judge has ruled.

Pauline Chai, 70, of Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, wanted half their assets, which she claimed were worth at least £205m.

Her ex-husband Khoo Kay Peng argued she should receive about £9m, following the end of their 42-year marriage.

Mr Justice Bodey said Ms Chai's settlement should be made up of cash and property.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Khoo Kay Peng argues that his former wife was entitled to about £9m

More than £6m has been spent on lawyers since their marriage broke down.

The couple, who both come from Malaysia, married in 1970 and have five children.

The hearing was heard at the Family Division of the High Court in London, where earlier Mr Justice Bodley had told them they could live in "considerable comfort" if they settled their differences.

Dr Khoo, who is a non-executive chairman of Laura Ashley Holdings, had wanted their divorced to be settled in Malaysia, which he said was their marital home.

But Ms Chai successfully argued the pair had moved their home to Berkhamsted before separating, entitling her to have the case heard in England.

Ms Chai's lawyer, Ayesha Vardag, said after the hearing: "This litigation has been long and arduous.

"It is a journey which has now ended in the affirmation of the principle of fair sharing.

"It emphasises that there is no place in England for discrimination between homemaker and breadwinner."

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