Hohn Says He Should Keep Wealth He’s ‘Created’

Jul 8 2014 | 5:20am ET

Asked why he thinks he should get to keep more than half of the money he’s made, The Children’s Investment Fund Management founder Christopher Hohn offers a simple answer: because he made it.

Hohn is fighting to keep 75% of his and his wife’s assets at their divorce hearing; Jamie Cooper-Hohn argues she should get half. The hedge fund billionaire countered that such a split would be unfair.

“I’ve created all the wealth—the expertise, the effort, the sweat and blood—and the law as I read it is ‘special contribution’ applies,” he said.

The testimony is the first to be reported since the divorce hearing opened last week. Yesterday, the judge overseeing the case, Jennifer Roberts, denied Hohn’s request to keep all of the proceedings secret, while barring publication of the couple’s financial details.

Hohn may have made a “special contribution” to the couple’s wealth, which totals at least US$1.3 billion, but his estranged wife cited a special contribution of her own: Her husband’s philanthropy.

During her own time on the stand, Cooper-Hohn said she initially refused to date the man she’s been married to for almost 20 years after he said he didn’t mind what he did “as long as I make a lot of money.”

“I said, ‘I think you’re cute and nice but I don’t think we have the same values,” Cooper-Hohn said.

Hohn denied that he was only interested in making money when the couple met at Harvard University.

“What she says is correct, but what is not stated there is that the reason she did go out with me was that I said to her, if I made a lot of money I would actually use it philanthropically and it was something which made a deep impact on me.”

“When I was 20 years of age, I worked in the Philippines and saw children living on garbage mounds, which is why I nearly became a doctor. I wanted to do a caring profession. It is wrong to make the argument that Jamie was the only one who was interested in philanthropy, but I was a realist and knew a dream without resources was just that, so I recognized that I needed to make a lot of money.”


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