Miss Li Quan – the ex-wife of a tycoon who is accused of spending tens of millions of pounds, leaving her with no money – has been successful at the Court of Appeal.
William Bray, a financier, and Miss Quan shared an interest in conservation while they were married, and so they set up a tiger charity in order to breed the Chinese tiger, which is now extinct in the wild.
However, while Mr Bray invested £25 million of his earnings into the South African charity, disagreements over the charity’s direction and policies resulted in the relationship deteriorating.
After deciding to get divorced, the couple began a complex legal battle over their marital assets, and they have spent over £2 million in lawyers’ fees to date.
In a judgement at London’s High Court last October, Sir Paul Coleridge dismissed Miss Quan’s claim that the £25 million invested in the charity should be included in the total value of the marriage’s assets.
The Judge declared that there was “no evidence of past, present or future benefit to either the wife or the husband” as a result of the tiger charity, which meant that it should not form part of any divorce settlement calculations.
However, despite Mr Bray’s claim that his personal fortune has been reduced to approximately £1 million, Lord Justice Briggs and Lady Justice King granted Miss Quan permission to appeal the original divorce ruling.
Their decision was based on the fact that Mr Bray allegedly took millions of pounds out of the charity for the benefit of his own businesses, and because he retained control over all the charity’s funds.
It was also highlighted that the original ruling from Sir Paul Coleridge did not take into account the fact that millions of pounds will be released from the charity when the scheme closes in two years’ time.
The case will now go to a full Court of Appeal hearing or else return to the High Court for further consideration.