Estranged wife of Laura Ashley boss owns 1,000 pairs of shoes

The estranged wife of a multi-millionaire Laura Ashley boss told a judge how she owned 1,000 pairs of shoes.

Former beauty queen Pauline Chai, 67, said her collection had “added up” over more than four decades. She estimated she had 700 pairs at her country house in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.

Ms Chai — who was Miss Malaysia 1969 — was giving evidence in the latest round of a divorce money battle with estranged husband Khoo Kay Peng, 75.

“I have got like 1,000 pairs of shoes,” she told Mr Justice Bodey at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Dr Khoo, non-executive chairman of Laura Ashley Holdings, and Ms Chai both come from Malaysia and married in December 1970. They are fighting over where a final trial should be held.

Dr Khoo, who is based in Malaysia, says a judge in Malaysia should make decisions about the division of money.

Ms Chai says they moved their “home” to Berkhamsted before separating in 2013, and wants decisions made in an English court.

Dr Khoo denies Ms Chai’s claim that they made their home in England in 2009.

And he says his wife wants to fight in England because an English court will give her a more generous award.

Mr Justice Bodey is expected to make rulings on jurisdiction after hearing legal argument and evidence from both sides.

Judges have heard that the pair, who have five children, have already run up legal bills of more than £2m.

Mr Justice Holman said Dr Khoo owned a “chunk” of Laura Ashley and had properties in England and Malaysia worth more than £50m.

He said that, on any “feasible” view, Ms Chai would get tens of millions for the part she played in their 42-year “matrimonial partnership”.


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