Privacy issues and the law have intersected so many times, particularly with social media’s impact on court reporting, that rulings over the media’s reporting of private disputes like divorce cases have become common. But the recent case of a UK hedge fund tycoon who sought to prevent the publication of Britain’s richest divorce case has seen the High Court reject a proposed reporting ban.
The case is a test case involving Jamie Cooper-Hohn, 49 who is the American wife of Sir Christopher Hohn, 47 and who is seeking the richest settlement in UK divorce history.
The Guardian reports that the judge’s ruling significantly expands the media’s ability to report on matrimonial hearings, Mrs Justice Roberts has permitted everything conducted in a private hearing to be published for the first time – apart from financial information relating to the couple’s personal or business affairs. Those financial matters that have already been published can be re-reported.
Mrs Cooper-Hohn’s lawyers argue that she is entitled to half the property, shares and businesses held by her husband. The couple have four children, including triplets. They were married for 17 years before she petitioned for divorce in March 2012.
The dispute extends to the true value of their personal wealth, which, the court has heard, is worth at least $1.3bn (£760m). Cooper-Hohn’s lawyers argue that she is entitled to a 50/50 split; his lawyers have offered her only 25% of the holdings, on the grounds that he has made a special contribution to their wealth.
Hohn, the son of a Jamaican car mechanic, attended Southampton University and then Harvard. He runs The Children’s Investment (TCI) fund management UK, a hedge fund whose profits are mainly returned to a charitable foundation. TCI controls investments worth about $8bn, including holdings in Moody’s Corp and Royal Mail plc.
The charity established by Hohn and his wife, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), is believed to hold $4.3bn. She is the chair of the fund. The couple have been described as the UK’s most generous philanthropists. Last year, during a summit hosted by David Cameron, the prime minister, CIFF pledged to spend more than £500m tackling childhood malnutrition around the world. It is one of the world’s largest private charities.
After an appeal court hearing last month, which dismissed expert evidence on the value of hedge fund management companies, lawyers for the couple began presenting their cases in the family division of the high court last week. Much of that detail has only just been made reportable.
The couple have said they live relatively modest lives, given their wealth. She denies enjoying a jet-set lifestyle; he has described it as being more of a Swatch than Rolex lifestyle.
Read more at The Guardian