Friday, January 23, 2009


Noted without comment from the Gazette:

A Quebec billionaire at the centre of a messy and very public airing of his 10-year tumultuous relationship with a young Brazilian summed up yesterday why he never married her, despite having three children together.

“It’s not my cup of tea,” the man, who can’t be identified under Quebec family law, told a packed Quebec Superior Court room.

His ex has launched a constitutional challenge to Quebec’s unique family law in order to receive financial support – an issue he conceded he finds interesting.

“I just wish I wasn’t in the middle of it,” he said. “I’m disappointed that what was supposed to be a constitutional debate has evolved into an airing of our dirty laundry.”

As it stands now in Quebec, couples living common-law only have to pay child support but are under no obligation to provide support to the spouse, or to divide assets once the union ends.

The woman’s lawyers, who expect the case to go all the way to Canada’s highest court, want couples in de facto unions for three years without children or one year with children treated the same as people who are legally married, just as in other provinces.

The woman is asking for $56,000 a month plus $50 million – a figure she says reflects the kind of spending power she had when the two were together. But the man, who is now with a model with whom he is not married but has two children, says he gives the three children ample support.

They and their mother are in the process of moving out of their Westmount home, which has a mould problem, into a $2.4-million Outremont home which is in the man’s name. He pays for the nannies, chauffeur, cleaning lady and cook, as well as all the children’s school fees. He gives the woman $35,000 a month child support.

Yesterday, his testimony sounded like a script from a soap opera, as he recounted details of their on-again off-again relationship. It was peppered with details of jetting off to Europe, Brazil, Fiji, Japan and Dubai, house parties with 2,500 guests and denials of drug overdoses.

“We were incredibly in love and our three children were made with love,” he said. “But on the other hand, I was constantly criticized for my lifestyle, that I worked too hard and for the people I hung out with.

“And I had problems with her behaviour, too.”

He met the girl, then 17 and 15 years younger than him, on a beach in Brazil in 1992. She didn’t speak English or French, and he couldn’t speak Spanish or Portuguese, so for the first few years of their relationship, he said, they used a lot of sign language.

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