In early 2015, a woman was formally denied what judges, news organizations and sane people all over the world decried as an insanely exorbitant divorce settlement. According to the Daily Mail, Pauline Chai, the 1969 winner of the Miss Malaysia title, is in the midst of a heated dispute with her former husband, Dr. Khoo Kay Peng.
At the heart of the divorce claim lies the fact that Ms. Chai asked for various monetary awards, including $130,000 (USD) each month for “maintenance” and $225,000 each year for vacations! What kinds of vacations require hundreds of thousands of dollars annually? The ex-beauty queen, currently 67, seems to favour flying first class and being chauffeured between her stays at five-star accommodations. Of course, it’s understandable that such behaviour could run up a bill, and if we had that much to spend on holidays, we’d probably do much the same.
Unfortunately for Ms. Chai, her estranged husband seems to have taken issue with her love of living in high style. Dr. Khoo, 76, may have stashed away quite a nice chunk of change while serving as the non-executive chairman of Laura Ashley Holdings, but that doesn’t mean he wants to part with any of his wealth. He argued that the settlement case, which involves assets like a sprawling English manse in the Hertfordshire countryside, should be heard in Malaysian courts. It’s unclear, however, whether the couple held joint ownership of any Malaysian properties that might necessitate such hearings.
According to reports, it was Dr. Khoo’s belief that the English courts his wife favoured would simply be too generous. As it turns out, however, Ms. Chai’s push to have the claims heard before UK officials could work against her: An English judge agreed that the settlement sums she demanded were excessive.
High Court Justice Roberts noted that the divorce claims were far from frugal and that the beauty queen probably wouldn’t even spend as much as she asked for. She also pointed out potential discrepancies in the woman’s justifications for her legal action. For instance, although Ms. Chai said she was making sacrifices like cutting her own hair instead of visiting her customary London hairdresser, she spent almost $1.5 million on “living expenses and outgoings” during the 11-month period ending in February 2014.
It’s also notable that even after the judge’s intervention, Ms. Chai will still receive payments of about $67,000 each month. She was also awarded a lump sum of $2.7 million in the middle of 2013, although it’s unclear how much of this money remains unspent.
So will this settlement mark the final end of a 42-year marriage that resulted in five children? While it’s certainly unlikely that the pair will reclaim their lost love and get back together, this may not be the end of the case itself. News sources implied that Ms. Chai still plans on fighting, and it’s unclear how much of the approximated $300 million family fortune will get swallowed up in legal scuffles.