Del Monte divorce leads to law change

The ongoing divorce of one of Anglo-Jewry's most high-profile couples has led to a significant change in divorce law.

Lisa Tchenguiz, sister of property developers Vincent and Robert, has been involved in lengthy proceedings to separate from her husband Vivian Imerman, former owner of Del Monte Foods and the Whyte & Mackay whisky group. Mr Imerman was formerly in business with the Tchenguiz brothers.

When Ms Tchenguiz filed for divorce, Mr Imerman was locked out of the office he shared with the brothers and thousands of documents were removed and given to his wife's lawyers.

Ms Tchenguiz argued that Mr Imerman was concealing much of his wealth and that she was entitled to know where the money was, even if it was by means which were not legal.

Mr Imerman tried through the courts to regain possession of the documents, which he said were confidential.

Now three Appeal Court judges, including Lord Neuberger, the Master of the Rolls, have ruled that there was no legal basis for the seizure of the documents, and Ms Tchenguiz has been prevented from using their contents to pursue her bitter financial claim against her husband.

Mr Imerman's solicitor Frances Hughes described the judgment as "ground-breaking" and said that it would have a major impact on disclosure of documents in family law cases.

    Last updated: 11:18am, August 5 2010