He is a person of the City of London’s most productive buyers, with a fortune believed at £300m, a luxurious yacht and a assortment of attractive residences. But the star fund manager Terry Smith has strike significant climate in the tropical paradise of Mauritius, from in which he runs his enterprise.

Because February, Smith has been locked in an acrimonious public authorized battle with his former associate of 13 decades. He has introduced a barrage of courtroom situations and problems towards Teresa de Freitas, covering at least 8 independent matters ranging from alleged embezzlement from a joint account, to disputes over vehicles and home things. She has retaliated with at the very least four statements of her very own.

The previous colleague, who is 21 yrs his junior, claims she is becoming “victimised for possessing left a potent and wealthy man”.

For the reason that of the cases against her, De Freitas, 47, has been ordered to surrender her passport and can’t depart the island in the Indian ocean. Her lender accounts have been frozen, her authorized expenditures are mounting, and in April, she was arrested and bailed soon after Smith, 68, accused her of thieving home furniture and other merchandise such as a Nespresso espresso machine, a Black & Decker drill and bedsheets.

The authorized battles arose just after a custody and access dispute about De Freitas’ boy or girl who, Smith claims, he has treated as his own due to the fact birth, and would like to keep on a marriage with. De Freitas claims she lower ties in between her baby and Smith mainly because she considered his steps would strip her of all parental legal rights. She states the pair had been engaged in negotiations and producing development when Smith unilaterally ended their conversations and filed legal claims from her.

Smith’s lawyers say despite the fact that he is not lawfully obliged to provide economic aid to his ex-spouse, he has designed presents and has continued to supply for the little one. De Freitas suggests she does not think about his monetary supply ample and so the pair – who hardly ever married – have not achieved settlement above it.

Lawyers for Smith say there is no electric power imbalance between the get-togethers and that his ex-partner has the usually means to defend herself. They say the make any difference is a non-public family members dispute, and that Smith’s desire has constantly been to arrive at a settlement.

Even so, content in many newspapers and various court docket hearings have pushed the multimillionaire’s fiercely guarded non-public life into the public domain.

Smith rose from modest beginnings as the son of a lorry driver in London’s east conclude to develop into 1 of the City’s most admired stock pickers, hailed as Britain’s answer to Warren Buffett. Fundsmith, which he established in 2010, is the UK’s major stock-concentrated financial commitment fund and manages £27bn on behalf of clients ranging from little savers to massive establishments.

In 2014, Smith and a handful of his personnel opened an business office on Mauritius, and he and De Freitas relocated there with her baby. The pair shared a villa in the grounds of an unique luxurious golf resort, overlooking the turquoise waters of Tamarin Bay, exactly where dolphins skim the waves and travellers bask on white sands.

Smith and De Freitas in Mauritius in 2018. Photograph: Teresa de Freitas

The pair fulfilled in 2005, at the stockbroker Collins Stewart, where by Smith was chief government and De Freitas was a deputy organization secretary. Even though he was still married at the time, the couple begun a relationship in 2007.

She states she gave up her job to raise her kid and enable regulate their households which involved a Georgian townhouse in Marylebone and a farm in the Cotswolds. Legal professionals for Smith say De Freitas did not manage the qualities in problem.

In April of this calendar year, the villa in Tamarin Bay turned the web-site of a bitter dispute between the few.

According to various publicly available Mauritian court docket documents, Smith moved out of their shared property in Could 2020 soon after the pair split. De Freitas eventually still left the villa in February, she states soon after Smith requested her new boyfriend to transfer out of the property, which he owned. Right after discovering De Freitas was eradicating truckloads of goods from the villa, Smith alerted the law enforcement and De Freitas was briefly taken into custody in early April just before staying bailed.

De Freitas denies theft, and claims she has receipts to show that some of the products ended up purchased with her own money.

Household items
House things that Teresa de Freitas suggests she was accused of thieving from their former spouse and children house in Mauritius. Photograph: handout from Teresa de Freitas

Months before, in February, the financier sent an e mail to De Freitas in which he warned he would pursue her via the courts unless she agreed to let him invest time with her little one.

“As a consequence of your volte facial area and unwillingness to even reply to proposals I have started using action,” the message browse. “I intend to go after authorized action against you in just about every regard in whatsoever jurisdiction you are in indefinitely. Even if I really don’t gain I will bring about you troubles for yrs.” It also said: “However, I am even now geared up to achieve arrangement with you.”

Smith went on to assure that “all proceedings will stop” if De Freitas gave him legally binding entry to her little one and a say in their upbringing.

Smith’s attorneys said this is an extract from a more time personal electronic mail which has been taken out of context, and his choice would be to settle the dispute amongst himself and De Freitas amicably.

Referring to her former partner in just one of the court documents, De Freitas mentioned Smith was now an “enemy”, “someone potent and incredibly rich, with cash to spare to damage me in litigation.”

Smith’s legal professionals say De Freitas’ remarks do not replicate the fact of the scenario and are an unbalanced interpretation of functions.

In accordance to court filings, Smith has also issued proceedings in search of the return of about 14.6m Mauritian rupees (£248,300), cash he claims De Freitas stole from a joint account funded entirely from his income. Smith claims he had expected De Freitas to use the funds for “reasonable family and private expenses”, his attorneys have claimed.

De Freitas asserts that the joint account was in both equally their names and that the cash belonged to her similarly. She positioned the bulk of the money in her account at Fundsmith.

The courts have ordered personal and organization bank accounts used by De Freitas to be frozen, at Smith’s request, immediately after the embezzlement allegations.

De Freitas has a full of $1m (£724,000) in personal savings at Fundsmith, which contains cash that Smith alleges she embezzled. She promises Smith is blocking her requests to withdraw the funds, and alleges that she is being subjected to an abnormal due diligence process conducted by Fundsmith’s brokers – such as demanding the resource of her price savings over a 10-year interval and facts about the origin of resources inherited from her grandmother.

Attorneys for Smith said all checks ended up common and delegated by Fundsmith to authorised brokers, and that Smith was not included in them.

“Terry is applying his electricity as head of Fundsmith to block me from the last resource of cash I experienced,” De Freitas claimed in a statement to the Guardian.

A lover at Fundsmith also emailed a Mauritian car dealership applying his Fundsmith electronic mail account on 29 April 2021. He recommended the dealership stop servicing the Toyota that De Freitas experienced just lately seized from Smith, and informed it of the lawful dispute around who owned the motor vehicle.

Smith’s authorized staff suggests the Fundsmith spouse was effectively notifying the dealership that the car was subject to a authorized dispute.

Smith’s legal professionals have independently lodged courtroom papers looking for to seize a £69,000 Porsche and asked for 1.6m Mauritian rupees (£27,000) to protect alleged motor vehicle injury and neglect. De Freitas denies the allegations. She afterwards submitted to seize the Toyota and a Jaguar, which Smith also paid for, in response.

Smith has not presented a comment. His attorneys reported he stays open up to reaching a settlement with De Freitas that consists of added fiscal payment for her child and did not want to vacation resort to authorized proceedings until all other options have been exhausted.