A hedge fund billionaire has failed to prevent the media from reporting details of his $1.3 billion divorce case, which is thought to be the largest to come before the English courts.
Sir Chris Hohn runs The Children's Investment Fund, a hedge fund that returns most of its profits to a charity, and claims to enjoy a "Swatch" lifestyle rather than a jet set one.
"My life is actually is about charity," he told the court on Monday. "I learnt very early on you cannot take money with you. It does not bring you happiness."
The ruling is significant as it extends the limits of what the media can report of hearings relating to the division of finances in big money divorces, which are becoming increasingly common among the super rich who choose to fight their divorce battles in London.
Sir Chris, the son of a Jamaican car mechanic, who grew up in Surrey, is embroiled in a bitter divorce battle with his wife Jamie Cooper-Hohn, 49, who is seeking hundreds of millions of pounds. The couple met as students at Harvard University, were married for 17 years and have four children.
Sir Chris, 47, had sought a reporting ban on a hearing to determine division of their assets partly because confidentiality agreements had been disclosed in the belief the proceedings would remain private and not be reported by the media.
Ms Cooper-Hohn is seeking half of the assets but her husband claims her share should be 25 per cent.
After hearing an application by the media, Mrs Justice Roberts ruled that such a blanket ban on reporting would be "too wide" and she permitted details to be reported provided they did not include financial information – either personal or business – unless they were already in the public domain.
She noted in her ruling that the assets available for distribution in the case amounted to $1.3 billion, including pension assets of $85 million and properties worth $36 million.
London is known as the divorce capital of the world because of its generosity in awarding spouses half the assets built up during a marriage.
Until now, the largest divorce award has been to Galina Besharova, the wife of the late Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who received a reputed £100 million to £200 million. Other divorce payouts have been less – Heather Mills received £24.3 million after four years of marriage to former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney.