An entrepreneur who moved a Playboy model into the luxury flat he shared with his ex-wife during their messy divorce has lost a bid to take a larger slice of their fortune.
Richard Rothschild, 45, was last year handed just £26,000, which he claims left him ‘penniless’ compared to the millions awarded to 46-year-old Charmaine de Souza.
Ms de Souza was given £1.73million – 95 per cent of the family wealth – as well as their £2.3million Miami condo.
Claiming the ruling was ‘unfair’ and left him with ‘in effect no capital at all and no income’, Mr Rothschild challenged the decision.
But a judge today threw out his appeal and upheld the original ruling, which split the money so unevenly because of Mr Rothschild’s actions and rampant spending on legal bills during their divorce.
Richard Rothschild, 45, (pictured with Playboy model Sherra Michelle) was last year handed just £26,000, which he claims left him ‘penniless’ compared to the millions awarded to 46-year-old Charmaine de Souza
Ms de Souza was given £1.73million – 95 per cent of their wealth – as well as their £2.3million Miami condo
The court heard that the couple had enjoyed a ‘very good’ lifestyle together – Mr Rothschild drove a Lamborghini and they also enjoyed the expensive condo in an exclusive Miami Beach apartment block (pictured)
The court heard that the couple had enjoyed a ‘very good’ lifestyle together – Mr Rothschild drove a Lamborghini and they also enjoyed the expensive condo in an exclusive Miami Beach apartment block.
They had met as students in 2005 and managed a successful London telecoms firm together.
But following their split in 2016, they clashed in court two years later when Mr Rothschild moved his then girlfriend, Playboy model Sherra Michelle, into the couple’s apartment.
It prompted a bid by Ms de Souza to get him jailed for contempt of court and saw Mr Rothschild run up over £1million in legal bills during their divorce.
In December last year, Mr Justice Cohen scolded Mr Rothschild for pursuing the ‘most destructive litigation’.
He said the entrepreneur had ‘brought it [the ruling] on himself’ because of the ‘huge and unnecessary haemorrhage of money to pay for this litigation’.
Lord Justice Moylan today upheld the December order, claiming it had been ‘just’ and ‘fair’.
Mr Rothschild (left) moved Playboy model Sherra Michelle (right) into the apartment he once shared with his wife and children, following their split
The appeal judge said the wife had set out numerous ways in which her ex-husband’s conduct had ‘impacted adversely on the financial circumstances of the family,’ diminishing what was left to divide up.
It included ‘deliberate and wanton’ overspending, ‘destructive behaviour’ which reduced the value of their fortune and his ‘sustained refusal to participate appropriately’ in the court case by bringing hopeless applications and failing to comply with orders, ‘needlessly increasing costs by a vast amount.’
Lord Justice Moylan added that ‘the husband acknowledged that the impact of the breakdown of the marriage had caused him “to stray from the path of reason and, occasionally, focus upon peripheral rather than fundamental aspects of the proceedings”.’
He noted that the husband ‘has no current earned income’, adding that he ‘has taken no steps to achieve one,’ although as a natural entrepreneur he is likely to prosper in future.
Ms de Souza had a 21-year relationship with Mr Rothschild after meeting as students, marrying in 2005
Ms De Souza, pictured here in Miami, has two young daughters with Mr Rothschild
He said Mr Justice Cohen had described the husband’s lifestyle after the split as ‘extraordinary.’
Mr Rothschild had ‘spent the time travelling the world’ and claimed that it was in the family’s financial interest that, instead of trying to earn money, it was better that ‘he preserves his non-domiciled tax status and lives a life of luxury on the back of the Airmiles’.
‘The judge noted that it was ‘hard to follow the logic’,’ Lord Justice Moylan added.
Quoting Mr Justice Cohen, he said: ‘It is obvious that this has been the most destructive litigation. There is no avoiding the fact that the husband is very largely responsible for the situation that has arisen.
‘Since the breakdown of the marriage, he has acted destructively and throughout the litigation without any regard to the normal rules… the husband has brought this upon himself.’
For the husband, Patrick Chamberlayne QC argued that the ‘central problem’ with the divorce ruling was that Mr Justice Cohen had made it clear that he was not taking Mr Rothschild’s conduct into account and was basing his decision on the former couple’s financial needs.
However, the judge must have taken the husband’s behaviour into account, because that would be the only way to explain such an equal split of the couple’s wealth, he said.
Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Moylan said: ‘It is plain…that the judge was entitled to take the husband’s litigation conduct into account.
‘The amount spent on legal costs would have been a modest fraction of this but for the husband’s conduct.
‘I do not accept Mr Chamberlayne’s submission that the disparity in outcome cannot be justified in this case.
‘I do not accept that conduct cannot lead to a party receiving less than their needs. It plainly can be justified.
‘The judge was entitled to conclude that the resources allocated to the wife were no more than sufficient to meet her needs both in the short term and the long term.
‘He was equally entitled to conclude that the amount allocated to the husband, also taking into account the husband’s prospects, and the other material factors such as his conduct, was a just proportion of the assets and was sufficient to meet his needs at a level which was fair to him in the circumstances of this case.’
Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Moylan also upheld a previous ruling that a £610,000 debt owed to Mr Rothschild’s mum, Wanda, was unlikely to be enforced by her.
‘The disparity between the parties is, therefore, not as great as that suggested by Mr Chamberlayne,’ he said.
Lord Justice Newey and Lord Justice Patten agreed with Lord Justice Moylan’s ruling and the appeal was dismissed.