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Bill's divorce battle continues - Former banker headed back to Court of Appeal over the details of his settlement

Published:Sunday | August 5, 2012 | 12:00 AM
William 'Bill' Clarke

Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter

Former Scotiabank boss William 'Bill' Clarke is continuing his attempt to prevent the multimillion-dollar settlement he received when he left the bank from being counted in his assets during his divorce battle with his estranged wife, Gwenetta.

The former banker's unwillingness to disclose the details of his retirement package as part of the divorce proceedings initially led him to ask for leave to appeal the disclosure order handed down by the Supreme Court.

However, Appeal Court judge Justice Hazel Harris ruled that Clarke should comply with the order handed down by Supreme Court judge Bryan Sykes.

Not satisfied with that ruling, Clarke's lawyers are returning to the Appeal Court and this time a full slate of three judges will hear the arguments.

"A stay of execution was granted and he has gone to the Court of Appeal which will hear the matter in November," said a legal source close to the unfolding drama.

Judith Cooper-Batchelor, the attorney representing Clarke, was unwilling to speak on the matter.

"I am not going to respond to that, but thanks for calling," she said.

Meanwhile, The Sunday Gleaner understands that the court has also ruled that multimillion-dollar residence in the upscale Jacks Hill neighbourhood, which reportedly formed a part of the settlement Clarke received last year, cannot be disposed of until the court proceedings have been settled.

A lawyer close to the high-profile divorce case explained that the house must remain as is because of provisions contained in the Property (Rights of Spouse) Act. "This prohibits any spouse who is the sole registered owner of property that is subject to the act from mortgaging or changing that property while there is a claim in the court". After initial reports in July 2008 that Clarke, the then president and CEO of the Bank of Nova Scotia Jamaica Limited, had been fired, the bank's parent company in Canada issued a statement announcing his retirement in October.

The two parties could not agree on a retirement package.

However, more than a year ago, it was reported that Clarke and the Canada-based Bank of Nova Scotia reached an agreement.

It was alleged that Clarke would be allowed to secure ownership of the bank's house that he was living in as well as the two motor vehicles that were assigned to him during his tenure as head of the bank.

However, the best-kept secret of that court battle was the exact dollar value of the multimillion-dollar 'golden handshake'.

Later this year, the Court of Appeal will decide if the details of the settlement will remain a secret.