Tuesday, December 2, 2014

'Sadistic, Unprincipled Rogue' Ordered To Pay £17Million Divorce Settlement To His Ex-Wife - Who Netted £37Million When She Split From First Husband

  • Property tycoon ordered to pay his ex-wife £17million divorce settlement
  • Judge brands the French businessman 'sadistic' and says award is 'justice'
  • But her ex-husband remains abroad and she may not get the money
  • She was previously given £37million in divorce from another businessman
  • After latest hearing, her lawyer said the money was originally hers and she had never sought anything that belonged to her ex-husband

A businessman has been ordered to pay his wealthy ex-wife around £17million after a family court judge branded him a 'unprincipled rogue'.

Judge Sir Peter Singer said property investor Didier Thiry, 53, had shown a 'sadistic side to his personality' since his relationship with Alisa Thiry, 50, broke down.

Ms Thiry - who was previously married to Stephen Marks, founder of high street chain French Connection - pocketed a £37million divorce settlement a decade ago, said Sir Peter.

In her latest divorce, the former model claimed Mr Thiry refused to honour the terms of a pre-nuptial agreement and demanded he return a loan her company made to his during their marriage.

The judge said the eight-figure sum he awarded Ms Thiry could be described as 'restorative justice'. He also ordered Mr Thiry to pay Ms Thiry's £456,000 legal bills.

Details of the award emerged in a ruling by the judge following private hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Sir Peter said the couple had separated in 2013 after marrying in 2006, having entered into a pre-nuptial agreement.

The judge said that, at the time of the agreement, Ms Thiry had disclosed assets of nearly £32.3million and Mr Thiry assets of about £8.3million.

Ms Thiry's lawyer, Shona Alexander, said after the ruling that her client had never sought any of Mr Thiry's money for herself.

'She solely tried to ensure that a clear pre-nuptial agreement was abided by,' said Ms Alexander.

'That agreement said that each of them should, if they divorced, simply be left in the same position they were in when they married.

She added: 'Accordingly, Ms Thiry has been trying to get back from Mr Thiry what was once hers alone, and which they agreed would always be hers alone in the future.

'Mr Thiry sadly refused to honour the terms of the pre-nuptial agreement.'

Mrs Thiry is the daughter of Raymond Chapman and his wife, Valerie, both hairdressers.

She was born Alisa Chapman in Cheltenham in 1964 but changed her name to Green after her mother's marriage to Ronald Green in 1973.

She and Mr Thiry, a French national who is a well-known figure in Belgium thanks to his flourishing hospitality empire, were married overseas.

Their acrimonious divorce battle emerged earlier this year, when it was revealed they were squabbling over their £40million fortune.

When the pre-nup was made, Ms Thiry owned an £11million house in London and a property in St Barts in the French Antilles valued at £7million.

Mr Thiry claimed that, as a result of his organisation of her business interests, his ex-wife profited by more than £20million.

But the judge branded the Frenchman's claim 'demonstrably nonsense' today.

A key bone of contention was a £13.8million loan a company owned by Alisa made to a company owned by Didier.

Ms Thiry said her background was 'fashion and design-orientated' and had told Sir Peter 'my forte is not financial matters'.

She said Mr Thiry had told her that he was an 'experienced investor and financial expert' and she had 'trusted' his advice and he had told her that she 'did not need to worry'.

The judge today ordered that the inter-company debt be repaid to Ms Thiry.

The ruling comes after another judge sentenced Mr Thiry to four months in jail in May for contempt of court for failing to disclose information relating to the loan to court.

The court heard today that he remains in Belgium and has not served the sentence. He previously said that, in Britain, 'the coffee is terrible, especially in prison I guess'.

Sir Peter said Mr Thiry had not appeared at hearings, but he said he had 'read a good deal that emanates from him'.

'In regard to his wife and since their relationship broke down he has manifested a manipulative and, it might even be said, a sadistic side to his personality,' said Sir Peter, adding: 'He can be haughty, menacing and downright rude in tone.'

Sir Peter said Mr Thiry had called his wife and her lawyers 'insignificant pieces of s***'.

He said Mr Thiry had 'bombarded' Ms Thiry with communications during the course of proceedings which were 'sneering, superior and supercilious' in tone.

And he asked: 'So why does Didier Thiry so steadfastly refrain from honouring his word rather than run the risk that one might conclude (as I have done) that he is an unprincipled rogue who has acted.

in a financially predatory fashion to prey on his wife for his own profit and to her substantial detriment?'

In a statement released in May, Ms Thirly sent out a warning to the media against 'repeating the offensive suggestion that despite being a successful journalist and businesswoman I have somehow made a career out of marrying for money.'


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