A rich American financier’s French ex-wife has been handed a three-month jail sentence after a Excessive Courtroom decide dominated that she had breached an order referring to the possession of a “premium luxurious” ski chalet following divorce litigation in London.
Caroline de Vechere, 53, was discovered to be in contempt of court docket after failing to switch possession of the chalet within the French Alps to ex-husband Eric Hersman, 62, as ordered.
Mr Justice Moor, the decide, who heard that the pair had been married for greater than 20 years and had lived in South Kensington, London, imposed the sentence at a listening to within the Household Division of the Excessive Courtroom after Mr Hersman launched contempt proceedings.
De Vechere was not on the listening to – staged in public on the Royal Courts of Justice advanced in London – and was not represented by a barrister.
The decide, who heard that de Vechere was considered in France, made an order which suggests she could possibly be arrested and imprisoned if she travels to England or Wales.
He stated she might apply to “purge” her contempt.
Eric Hersman has ‘profitable purchasers lined as much as lease Chalet Pearl’ – Brian Farmer/PA
Legal professionals representing Mr Hersman stated he didn’t need de Vechere to go to jail, however to adjust to the order to switch possession of the chalet.
The decide heard that Chalet Pearl, in Courchevel, could possibly be price within the area of £15 million.
Barrister Tim Amos KC, who led Mr Hersman’s authorized workforce, instructed Mr Justice Moor how one other decide had made an order in 2019, after overseeing a dispute about cash between de Vechere and Mr Hersman at Excessive Courtroom hearings in London.
Mr Justice Moor heard that Mr Hersman had been ordered to pay de Vechere a lump sum of about £700,000, and de Vechere had been ordered to switch possession of the ski chalet.
He was instructed that the pair had additionally collectively owned a villa in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera.
Mr Amos instructed Mr Justice Moor: “The case issues the sedulous, repeated failure of the respondent ex-wife to switch to the applicant husband a premier luxurious ski chalet in Courchevel, often called Chalet Pearl.”
“(De Vechere) has gone to immense lengths to frustrate (Mr Hersman’s) place.”
Mr Amos instructed Mr Justice Moor that there had been a “misappropriation” by de Vechere of greater than £1.5 million in lease between October 2021 and February 2023.
He stated there was an “urgency” to “get (de Vechere) out” earlier than the approaching ski season and instructed Mr Justice Moor that Mr Hersman had “profitable purchasers lined as much as lease Chalet Pearl”.
Mr Justice Moor stated he was “glad past affordable doubt” that de Vechere had breached an order and was in contempt. He stated de Vechere had “no proper” to lease out the chalet.
The decide stated “contempt of the Excessive Courtroom” was a “very severe matter” and added: “This contempt is so severe that a direct sentence of imprisonment is the one sentence that I can cross.”
He instructed the listening to that de Vechere would serve half of the three-month sentence earlier than being eligible for launch on licence – and stated, if arrested, she would return to court docket for an extra listening to.
Legal professionals instructed him that the pair had additionally been concerned in litigation in France.
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