The protracted divorce between the chairman of Laura Ashley and his estranged wife has finally reached decree absolute, signalling the formal end of their marriage.
Malaysian businessman Khoo Kay Peng, now 78, and wife Pauline Chai separated in 2012 after more than 40 years together. She moved to England, settling in a Hertfordshire estate, and the former couple promptly began four years of legal wrangling in the courts, racking up joint legal costs of around £6 million. During the course of the proceedings, Ms Chai won the right to have her case heard in England, against the opposition of her then estranged husband.
Dr Peng is the multimillionaire chairman of the conglomerate Malayan United Industries (MUI), the majority shareholder in high street retailers Laura Ashley plc. He has an estimated fortune of £440 million.
Seventy year-old Pauline Chai, meanwhile, is a former Miss Malaysia.
Despite the grant of decree absolute, the details of the couple’s settlement will not be fixed until later this year at a further High Court hearing.
Photo by Keith Laverack via Flickr