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Wife of Malaysian multi-millionaire in line for major divorce payout

The wife of one of Malaysia’s richest men has filed for divorce in the UK, opening the door to a potentially huge settlement.

One-time Miss Malaysia Pauline Chai, 66, has been married to businessman Dr Khoo Kay Peng since 1970 and the pair have five children together, all now adults. She cited ‘unreasonable behaviour’ in her filing and is expected to seek 50 per cent of her husband’s wealth.

According to a report in The Times, an award of £400-500 million would the largest divorce settlement in British legal history.

The couple lived a multinational lifestyle but have been based in Hertfordshire since 1998, when they bought a 1,000 acre estate for £30 million. Two of the couple’s five children attended university in the UK.

The family also has properties in Kuala Lumpur, Canada and Australia, but according to the Times report, these are owned by Dr Khoo’s companies, so a divorce court will need to decide whether they can be included in the marital settlement.

Dr Khoo Kai Peng, now 74, is chairman of international investment company Malaysia United Industries (MUI), which came to prominence in the UK in 1998 when it bought a 40 per cent stake in fashion and design retailer Laura Ashley.

He is also director of Corus Hotels.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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