A wealthy New York businessman has been ordered to pay his estranged wife £11 million after it emerged that he and his lawyers failed to sign a revised divorce settlement.
The man, who made his fortune trading sugar, reached an agreement last year to make annual payments to her of $5 million for the next 12 years, the New York Post reports, only to return to court this year seeking to have the agreement set aside for unspecified reasons.
But when the agreement documents were examined, it emerged that the signature lines were blank. Consequently the judge agreed to rescind the agreement, but ruled that failure to sign had meant that a previous agreement from 2013 remained in force.
This required the sugar magnate to make an immediate payment of $11 million, with a further $50 million at various stages over the next four years.
Justice Michael Katz declared:
“I have no doubt there were very substantial negotiations, and it appears the parties were very close to entering into a settlement. It would have taken five seconds for the parties and their attorneys to sign it.”
The trader’s lawyer argued in court that he could not make the remaining $50 million in payments and also claimed that his estranged wife had substantial personal wealth of her own.
But Judge Katz was unpersuaded.
Speaking to the Post, the businessman complained of his wife, a former model:
“I’ll be bankrupt before she’s done.”
The couple originally married in 1990, and then divorced in 1994. They remarried two years later before separating again two years ago.