Malaysian tycoon Khoo Kay Peng and wife racked up $10.8 million in lawyers' fees over divorce

Malaysian tycoon Khoo Kay Peng and his estranged wife Pauline Chai (above, centre) racked up £5 million (S$10.8 million) in lawyers' bills over their divorce settlement dispute in Britain.
Malaysian tycoon Khoo Kay Peng and his estranged wife Pauline Chai (above, centre) racked up £5 million (S$10.8 million) in lawyers' bills over their divorce settlement dispute in Britain.PHOTO: THE STAR PUBLICATION

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian tycoon Khoo Kay Peng and his estranged wife Pauline Chai have racked up £5 million (S$10.8 million) in lawyers' bills during a divorce settlement dispute in the United Kingdom, it was reported.

A barrister representing Tan Sri Khoo on Tuesday (Oct 21) gave three appeal court judges details of the amounts the couple had spent on lawyers at the start of the latest round of the legal battle, the report said.

It said Mr Timothy Scott QC told a hearing in London that Ms Chai had run up bills totalling about £3.5m and Mr Khoo's bills totalled about £1.5m.

Mr Khoo, 74, who owns 44 per cent of Laura Ashley PLC, and Ms Chai, 68, a former Miss Malaysia, cannot agree on whether decisions about who should get what in the divorce settlement ought to be made in the British or Malaysian courts.

A number of high court judges analysed the dispute before it reached the Court of Appeal.

Three appeal court judges who examined evidence and legal argument at a hearing in London on Tuesday said they would give their views at a later date.

In June, the Court of Appeal in Malaysia ruled that Ms Chai does not have the right to choose where she wants to stay as the common law rule still applies, that is, the wife follows the husband's place of residence.

The court decided this in the appeal by Ms Chai against a court order that favoured Mr Khoo, who wanted their divorce case heard in Malaysia instead of Britain.