The daughter of a retail tycoon has spoken out following the bitter divorce of her parents which ended in one of the biggest financial settlements in history.
Angeline Francis Khoo, whose father is the chairman of home and fashion store Laura Ashley, said she had no idea of her father’s wealth until it was disclosed in court.
The battle was described as a “victory for the homemaker”, after her mother Ms Chai was awarded more than £100 million. Her mothers had argued that she had made an equal contribution by fulfilling her role as a “traditional” wife during 42 years of marriage.
It later emerged that father Dr Khoo has offered his former wife just £9 million.
Ms Khoo was only the witness called in her parents’ divorce. She defended her mother’s spending after it was revealed in court that Ms Chai owned 1,000 pairs of shoes. She said her mother was in fact quite frugal, and would choose to dye her own hair rather than go to the hairdressers.
Miss Khoo said: “In these situations with so much money often people are, like, ‘I don’t get it. Why are they fighting over so much?’
“But it’s not really about the money, it’s about control and losing that control. That’s something that a lot of people can’t grasp because you’re discussing finances way beyond your basic needs.”
She added: “I believed Dad’s stance was wrong, so there was no question about what was right.
“I’ve been fortunate to have that perspective: you can have money and it’s a blessing; it allows you to do things and gives you options, but there are also things that come with it, such as control.
“Money amplifies negative characteristics and that can cause problems. To walk away from that was actually very easy. I didn’t even consider it.”