Divorce for Laura Ashley boss and ex-beauty queen wife

Figure of Lady Justice in London

A divorce has been granted to Laura Ashley boss Khoo Kay Peng and his estranged wife, former beauty queen Pauline Chai.

The wealthy Malaysian couple were given a decree nisi at a hearing in the Central Family Court, London.

It is the latest development in a legal battle which has seen the two spend around £5m in disputing how money should be split.

Ms Chai claims Dr Khoo is worth at least £440m, something he denies.

Judge Stephen Anderson made the decision to grant the decree nisi on Thursday, following an application by Ms Chai.

Division of assets

Both Ms Chai and Dr Khoo have spent more than two years disputing whether the division of their assets should be decided upon in courts in England or Malaysia.

Dr Khoo, 77, had said the pair's marital home was in Malaysia and wanted decisions to be made by a judge in that country.

But Ms Chai, 69, argued that they moved to Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire before they split and so proceedings should take place in England.

Litigation was launched in both countries and in October 2014 a High Court judge ruled that proceedings launched in England by Ms Chai could continue.

Dr Khoo challenged the decision in the Court of Appeal but three appeal judges ruled against him and dismissed his challenge last December.

He is a non-executive chairman of Laura Ashley holdings and Ms Chai was crowned Miss Malaysia in 1969.

The pair, who both come from Malaysia and have five children, split after 43 years of marriage.

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