Foundation spends $7.3m on legal fees for trustee divorce

23 Oct 2018 News

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, one of the five wealthiest charities in the UK, has now spent $7.3m (£5.6m) on legal fees following the divorce of its two founders and major donors.

CIFF was founded by Sir Christopher Hohn and his then-wife, Jamie Cooper. The couple split in 2014, after 15 years of marriage.

As part of the split, it was agreed that subject to legal approval, Cooper would resign from the charity, and CIFF would make a $360m donation to another charity also established by Cooper, Big Win Philanthropy.

In June 2017, a court ordered that the payment be made. But the only voting member of CIFF, other than Hohn and Cooper, is a friend of the couple, Dr Marko Lehtimaki. Lehtimaki challenged the order, and recently won a Court of Appeal ruling, which said that he should be allowed to exercise his own judgement. That ruling could well be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Rapid growth at CIFF

The latest figures for the cost of the proceedings are revealed in the charity’s annual report and accounts, published last week.

The accounts also show that the charity made $781m (£601m), including investment returns – an increase of 15.6 per cent. It spent $315m (£243m), including $247.3m (£191m) on charitable activities. Its total assets increased to $5.18bn (£3.99bn).

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