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Countess Marie Douglas-David












Marie Douglas-David36-year-old Countess Marie Douglas-David is demanding that her husband double her divorce settlement to $100 million (£69 million) as she hasn’t enough to cover weekly expenses of more than $53,000. Marie Douglas-David wants to tear up a postnuptial agreement with George David – formerly one of the most respected chief executive officers in American corporate life, and 30 years her senior – under which she would receive just $43 million.

She says she was coerced into signing the agreement by her husband, the former head of United Technologies Corporation, who is worth an estimated $329 million, during their six-year marriage.

The Swedish countess, previously an investment banker, says she has no income and has listed her weekly expenses in a court document. These include $4,500 for clothes, $1,000 for hair and skin treatments, $1,500 for restaurants and entertainment, $8,000 for travel, $700 for limousine services, $2,209 for an assistant, $1,570 for horse care and $600 for flowers.

Accusations of infidelity, bullying and extortion have been flung back and forth at the divorce hearing in a Connecticut courtroom this week as the pair have fought for the sympathy of the judge.

The couple met when Countess Marie Douglas, a descendant of Grand Duke Ludwig I of Baden and daughter of Count Philip Douglas, was 30 and an asset manager for Lazard Asset Management, investing in United Technologies stock. Mr David, who had divorced his first wife and mother of his three children several years earlier, built United Technologies, the Connecticut-based conglomerate that owns a wide range of businesses from aerospace manufacturing to lifts, into an international success.

The couple joined the New York charity set and jetted around the world. They separated initially in 2004, allegedly over her infidelity. In 2005, after a series of reconciliations, the couple signed a postnuptial agreement giving Ms Douglas-David $43 million should they divorce. Mr David, 67, was accused in court of coercing her to sign it by preying upon her fears of being divorced and childless.

William Beslow, a prominent New York divorce lawyer, who represented Marla Maples in her divorce from Donald Trump, said his client thought that she was in “a loving, sound marriage” when her husband pushed her into signing the deal. “He put a [figurative] gun to the back of her head,” Mr Beslow told Judge Stephen Frazzini in his opening statement.

Ms Douglas-David wants nearly $100 million in cash and shares, plus about $130,000 a month in alimony payments. Her expenses include maintaining a Park Avenue apartment and three homes in Sweden.

Mr Beslow accused Mr David of pushing his wife into quitting her job so that she could travel and entertain with him. “He ridiculed her as a professional. He diminished her self-confidence,” he said. Mr Beslow said the final straw for his client came in 2008, when she found e-mails disclosing an affair between her husband and a younger woman.

Mr David’s lawyer, Anne Dranginis, accused Ms Douglas-David of nagging and hounding her husband with “extensive, long diatribes” over little things “like how he held his fork or how he drafted invitations”.

Mr David, who stepped down as United Technologies chief executive in 2008, argues that he and his wife have already fulfilled some of the terms of the agreement, and that she had tried to have it enforced during a previous court case. He says those facts support the agreement’s validity and is asking the judge to uphold the agreement and order his wife to vacate their Park Avenue apartment.

In his court filings, Mr David said that he spends more than $200,000 a week, including $95,943 to own and operate his 90ft yacht. He spends $18,042 a week on charities, $7,491 on travel, $7,125 on entertainment, $2,500 on clothing and $1,773 on food.

Outside court, Ms Douglas-David said: “I’m just very sad that we are where we are.”

Marie Douglas-David Her weekly expenses:

Clothes $4,500
Hair and beauty $1,000
Eating out $1,500
Travel $8,000
Limousine service $700
Personal assistant $2,209
Horse care $1,570
Flowers $600
Total $20,079

George David His weekly expenses:

Clothes $2,500
Yacht maintenence $95,943
Eating out $1,773
Travel $7,491
Charities $18,042
Entertainment $7,125
Wife’s residences $67,126
Total $200,000

Source: The Times - 21st March 2009

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