Billionaire’s charity must pay £277m to foundation run by ex-wife, Supreme Court rules
A CHARITY founded by one of Britain’s richest men has been ordered to pay $360m (£277m) to his ex-wife’s philanthropic organisation in a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court.
Sir Chris Hohn’s organisation, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation,
has been told to hand over the cash to a new charity run by Jamie Cooper, who was awarded the biggest divorce payment in English legal history when they split six years ago.
The pair agreed to transfer the money to Big Win Philanthropy, a charity set up by Ms Cooper, an American, on condition that she resigned as a
CIFF trustee. Both then recused themselves from a formal vote on transferring the cash, leaving it up to the final board member, Marko Lehtimaki, a friend of hedge fund boss Sir Chris, to decide what to do.
Mr Lehtimaki previously said he would not allow the friendship to affect his decision. A protracted legal wrangle then ensued over whether he had the power to block the deal.
An initial High Court decision in Ms Cooper’s favour was overturned in the Court of Appeal, only for that judgment itself to be overruled by the Supreme Court.
Matthew Dontzin, Ms Cooper’s lawyer, said the Supreme Court ruling was a “complete victory” for his client. Sir Chris, who is worth an estimated £1.3bn and referred to himself as an “unbelievable moneymaker” during the couple’s divorce proceedings, runs TCI Fund Management.
The son of a Jamaican car mechanic, he is Britain’s ninth-biggest taxpayer and handed an estimated £58m to the
Exchequer last year, according to The
Sunday Times Tax List.
Sir Chris, who has given £200,000 to Extinction Rebellion, despite being a major shareholder in the owner of Heathrow Airport, is well known in the City as an aggressive activist investor. TCI was the world’s best-performing major hedge fund last year.