THE London High Court has awarded a £60 million divorce settlement to an interior designer following a “bitter break-up” with her multi-millionaire Indian businessman husband.
Simrin Choudhrie had fought a long legal battle with Bhanu Choudhrie, who had earlier tried to legally gag her from revealing “pillow talk” information after he got mired in a Rolls-Royce graft probe.
The couple used to live together in a £20-million, six-storey Belgravia home, until Bhanu sought divorce in 2017.
Simrin, who had featured on Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire show, was represented by solicitor Baroness Fiona Shackleton, known for representing high-profile clients such as Sir Paul McCartney, Prince Charles, and Prince Andrew in their divorce cases.
Bhanu legal’s team was led by solicitor Ayesha Vardag, known for her 2010 Supreme Court victory that bolstered the status of prenuptial agreements under English law.
According to reports, Simrin had initially demanded £100 million and a London residential property, but later agreed to a lumpsum settlement amount of about £60 million.
Bhanu, whose family empire is reportedly worth £1.6 billion, heads a private equity firm, C&C Alpha Group, based in Westminster.
Incidentally, his father, Sudhir Choudhrie, is said to have donated over £1.5 million to the Liberal Democrats.
In 2014, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had grilled the father and son in an investigation into alleged kickbacks paid Rolls-Royce to bag an Indian defence contract.
They, however, denied wrongdoings, and were not charged. The SFO later dropped the investigations after Rolls-Royce paid a fine of £671 million.
In 2018, Bhanu had moved the High Court – in what came to called the “pillow talk” lawsuit – to prevent Simrin from spilling out “confidential details about the SFO investigation and his business associates”.
Bhanu wanted an assurance from Simrin that she would not reveal to anyone details of the case that he had discussed with her so that she could “understand what he was going through”.
The lawsuit, however, was struck out after Simrin said the “pillow talk” details would remain confidential.