An Arab politician told the High Court that he could not read the settlement he signed with his estranged fourth wife because he was not wearing his glasses.
The unnamed man, who came from a country in which polygamy was legal, met the woman in a Chinese restaurant and signed documents in which he agreed to pay her £60,000 a month, but later insisted he hadn’t known what he was signing. The Egyptian woman had moved to the UK after their marriage, but the relationship broke down.
The judge had been asked to decide an interim maintenance award prior to the couple’s full divorce settlement.
Describing the restaurant meeting, the judge said:
“The wife brought certain documents with her that she wished the husband to sign. One of the documents that he did sign was a confirmation by him to start paying her immediately £60,000 per month.
In his witness statement the husband says that he was emotionally disturbed at the time. He was missing his children whom the wife was not allowing him to see.
He did not have his reading glasses. He did not know what he was signing or, if he did, his mind was altered by the circumstances so that he did not fully appreciate what he was putting his signature to.”
The judge continued:
“I find it very hard to accept that he would have signed a document committing himself to pay £60,000 per month without appreciating the consequences of his signature.”
Referring to the family’s “serious wealth”, Mr Justice Mostyn said he was going to make “robust assumptions”, but also described the woman’s initial financial claim as “absurd”.
The husband should pay £33,000 a month, he ruled.