Published: Sunday March 17, 2013 MYT 7:36:00 PM
Updated: Sunday March 17, 2013 MYT 7:44:46 PM
Tycoon Khoo Kay Peng’s wife sues for divorce, may get more than RM2bil
By ISABELLE LAI
PETALING JAYA: One time glamour couple of Malaysia, multi-millionaire Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Peng and former Miss Malaysia Pauline Chai has split. They had married in 1970.
Chai, 66, lodged a petition for divorce in London last month on grounds of “unreasonable behaviour”, after 43 years of marriage with Khoo, listed as number 36 on Forbes' Malaysia's 50 Richest.
According to UK's The Times Law, British courts could award Chai up to RM2.375bil (£500mil), making it the largest in British divorce history.
It said preliminary hearings should take place over the next few months.
“One of the issues will be Dr Khoo's worth - his wife will claim 50% of it, as is the norm in the British divorce court - and whether the family properties, technically owned by his companies, are part of the couple's joint wealth,” it said in a news report written by Frances Gibb.
Chai's lawyer Ayesha Vardag said her client had established her home in England and was entitled to enjoying English law.
“English law works on the basis of a 50-50 split of assets unless there is a reason to depart from that principle. We have wealth here that was built up over 40 years and a wife's entitlement would be half of that. Any question of need is secondary.”
Khoo and Chai have five grown-up children and lived a lavish lifestyle with properties in Kuala Lumpur, England, Australia and Canada.
They bought a 404.69ha estate in Hertfordshire, located to the north of Greater London, in 1998, which was estimated to be worth RM141mil (£30mil).
“[It] then became the family home, complete with an exotic animal menagerie, including alpacas and llamas, and with two custom-built lakes each constructed for RM282,869 (£60,000),” said Gibb.
Dr Khoo, who, among others is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Malayan United Industries Berhad, is a born-again Christian.