As an accomplished mountaineer who has scaled many of the world's highest peaks, including Mount Everest, Annabelle Bond has found herself in some dicey situations.
Now she finds herself in a very different sort of predicament — a nasty legal fight between a former lover and her current one.
Her boyfriend, Andrew Cader, a former Goldman Sachs executive and part owner of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball franchise, is accused of conspiring with Ms. Bond to hide her true financial condition so that she could secure more than $50,000 a month in child support payments last December from the Wall Street financier Warren G. Lichtenstein, who has a 5-year-old daughter with the British socialite.
Ms. Bond deviously obtained the outsize child support from a Hong Kong court to "improve upon her already extraordinary life of luxury, privilege and modest fame," contends the lawsuit, which was filed by Mr. Lichtenstein in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
That Ms. Bond lives an extraordinary life of luxury and privilege is not in dispute. The daughter of Sir John R. H. Bond, the former chairman of the global banking giant HSBC, Ms. Bond, 43, has traveled the world as a mountain climber and extreme athlete. (The lawsuit derisively calls her a "self-described 'activist and adventurer.' ") Her family has homes in London, Hong Kong, Florida and Aspen, Colo.
Mr. Lichtenstein said that in order to help Ms. Bond conceal her actual economic condition and obtain inflated child support payments, Mr. Cader disguised as loans millions of dollars in cash gifts he had given her.
Mr. Cader also characterized the disbursements as loans to avoid paying gift tax in the United States, according to the complaint.
"The case was brought to prevent an injustice and reflects Warren's deep concern for the welfare of his child," said Stanley Arkin, the lawyer for Mr. Lichtenstein.
Mr. Cader and Ms. Bond did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Though Mr. Lichtenstein's lawsuit was filed in New York and raises questions about a Hong Kong court ruling, the origins of the case trace to Aspen, the ski-resort town and favorite second or third home for the Wall Street elite.
Mr. Lichtenstein, Mr. Cader and Ms. Bond all have homes in Aspen, which is where Ms. Bond met Mr. Lichtenstein, who has one child from a previous marriage. The two were once engaged but never married; their relationship ended amicably in 2007, just months before their daughter's birth.
"He is an amazing guy, but I think that sometimes it's better to have one happy parent than two unhappy ones," Ms. Bond told The Evening Standard newspaper in London at the time.
Mr. Lichtenstein, 47, made his fortune through his New York-based hedge fund, Steel Partners, which he started in 1992 and last year became a publicly traded company. Known in financial circles as combative and litigious, Mr. Lichtenstein buys large stakes in underperforming companies and agitates for change. Among his holdings are WebBank, a Utah-based financial company, and the industrial business Handy & Harman.
This is the second time this year that Mr. Lichtenstein, a native of Great Neck, N.Y., on Long Island, has appeared in the press because of his personal life. The gossip papers were recently filled with rumors that he was dating the reality television personality and entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel, who is in the middle of a messy public divorce. The two are old friends and not romantically involved, a person briefed on with the matter said.
Mr. Lichtenstein's courtroom adversary, Mr. Cader, 54, started his career as a floor broker on the New York Stock Exchange for Spear, Leeds & Kellogg. In 1997, he took over as co-chief executive of the firm and earned hundreds of millions of dollars when Goldman Sachs acquired Spear Leeds for about $6.5 billion in 2000.
(A skilled musician, Mr. Cader moonlighted as a percussionist while trading, and has a credit for playing rub-board on the 1985 Talking Heads album, "Little Creatures.")
He and several of his former Spear Leeds colleagues bought the Rays in 2004. Though some of them play an active role in the team's management, Mr. Cader has a small, passive stake. Mr. Cader, who has a child from a previous marriage, owns a jet, a Dassault Falcon 50, which he uses to travel among homes in Hong Kong, Aspen and Mount Kisco, N.Y. He, too, knows Ms. Bond from Aspen.
Around the time they met, Ms. Bond became locked in a legal dispute with Mr. Lichtenstein over the support of their daughter. The dispute took an ugly turn, according to the lawsuit, when Ms. Bond moved with their daughter to Hong Kong — "a jurisdiction that was half a world away," according to the complaint.
Mr. Lichtenstein says he then learned that Ms. Bond and their daughter had moved into a home in Hong Kong's upscale Strawberry Hill neighborhood. Mr. Cader was renting the home for $26,000 a month and structured it as a loan to Ms. Bond, she told Mr. Lichtenstein — and more than $3.5 million in cash was also described as a loan, according to the complaint.
"These representations are false," the complaint says. "The cash gifts and lease payments from Mr. Cader — who on information and belief has a net worth of hundreds of millions of dollars — were gifts to his longtime paramour, Ms. Bond."
Mr. Lichtenstein argues that the Hong Kong court relied on Ms. Bond's lies in awarding her $41,800 a month in child support, plus school, tutoring, medical, travel and other substantial expenses. That amount, Mr. Lichtenstein claims, "is one of the largest — if not the largest — child support ever issued by a Hong Kong court."
He did not name Ms. Bond, a resident of Hong Kong, as a defendant, but took aim at her dating history. "Ms. Bond has gone from one millionaire lover to another," the complaint says, "spending millions of dollars of their money to support her lavish lifestyle, and has then moved on to her next wealthy lover or lovers to support her and finance her litigation efforts."
According to her Web site, in 2005 Ms. Bond became the fastest woman and the fourth-fastest person ever to reach all "seven summits," the highest peaks on each continent, having accomplished the feat in less than a year.
She has given talks at numerous Wall Street firms about her climbing exploits, including Morgan Stanley, Blackstone Group and Credit Suisse. On her Twitter feed on Thursday, she made no mention of the lawsuit, but posted a photo of herself at the top of Mount Everest.
"Nearly my summit of Everest anniversary," she wrote. "My respects to the mother goddess."