'Adultery' at root of HK$5.5b suit
A lawyer who is claiming HK$5.5 billion in alimony from her former husband had divorced him after she discovered his adultery, a court heard yesterday.
She is seeking 55 per cent of her former husband's assets to support her current lifestyle, which includes annual spending of HK$32 million by herself and their daughter, aged three, the Court of First Instance heard. Under Hong Kong law their identities cannot be revealed.
The divorcee's demands include more than HK$5 million a year for buying clothes and HK$2.4 million in recreation expenditure. She wants HK$1.8 million a year for food expenses and HK$600,000 for dining out. Food for her three dogs will cost HK$143,000 annually, the court heard on the fifth day of the hearing. Her former husband is the son of a wealthy Hong Kong businessman with investments around the world.
'I understand that these are very substantial sums, but they reflect the lifestyle I had before the marriage broke down,' the divorcee said in court. The money will also cover the purchase of a HK$15 million boat, two cars in Hong Kong and one in London, and the salaries of two drivers - one for the divorcee and another for her daughter.
She is also asking for provisions of HK$691,000 to hire a nanny for the daughter in Britain. In addition, the divorcee is asking for a home in Hong Kong that would be comparable to a large and comfortable house that her former husband owns in California.
As an example, she cited a 5,000 sq ft property in Bowen Road, worth about HK$600 million, that would be acceptable to her. The court heard that her former husband had refused to pay alimony to his former wife and their daughter because he had substantially funded the purchase of a flat at Hollywood Heights, in Old Peak Road.
He had also paid his ex-wife HK$29 million that was originally intended for the purchase of a property, and because she had HK$48 million in her own savings.
However, she said her former spouse had transferred some of his assets to his father to frustrate her claim on his assets, an issue the court is being asked to determine.
The court heard that in a January 2008 e-mail, entitled 'Goodbye', she wrote to her husband that she saw 'no single reason' for staying together after she discovered he had been adulterous.
She became emotional when contents of the e-mail were read out in court by her ex-spouse's lawyers.
The court heard that her pregnancy was a catalyst in the breakdown of their marriage because her then husband did not want a child, but she had refused to get an abortion.
The husband thought that he stood a bigger chance of becoming his father's successor and inheriting his wealth if he did not have a child.
The hearing continues.
The number of years that the estranged couple were married, from 2000 to 2008