A High Court judge has sentenced a Catholic former millionaire to a year in jail after he failed to pay a divorce settlement to his aristocratic Austrian ex-wife.Blair’s Catholic ‘Mr Fixit’ gets jail for failing to pay £1million divorce settlement to aristocrat ex-wife – Catholic Herald
A High Court judge has sentenced a Catholic former millionaire to a year in jail after he failed to pay a divorce settlement to his aristocratic Austrian ex-wife.
Anthony Bailey, 52, a former high-flying public relations consultant, was taken to court by Princess Marie-Therese Elizabeth Hohenberg Bailey, the great-granddaughter of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination sparked the First World War.
The 49-year-old aristocrat took action after Mr Bailey fled the UK in breach of a court order and also halted the sale of his £4million six-bedroom villa outside Lisbon, Portugal, preventing her from receiving a share of the assets.
The princess was awarded £2 million in the divorce settlement but has received only half of the money, with £1 million outstanding.
She successfully obtained applications for committal to prison of Mr Bailey as well as two of his friends – Cyril Woods, a Canadian aristocrat, and Farley Rentschler, a Florida socialite.
Ms Rentschler, 43, and Mr Woods, 73, were alleged to have assisted in preventing the lifting of their mortgages on the Portuguese villa and were each given prison sentences of four months by the court.
Mr Bailey and his two friends are all living outside the UK and were sentenced in their absence by the judge.
According to reports, Mr Bailey has been advised by his lawyers that he cannot be extradited from Portugal because his prison sentence relates to a civil matter.
Mr Justice Peel concluded that his behaviour “evinces a disregard for the welfare of [his] wife and child” and that he has shown “no remorse” for his actions.
The judge said: “His behaviour displays wilful obstruction and broad-scale contempt for the court. It is a shameful spectacle deserving considerable opprobrium.”
A statement issued by Ribet Myles, the law firm representing Princess Marie-Therese, said the action was necessary because of Mr Bailey’s conduct.
It said that an order issued by the court in April 2021 should have led to the release of assets to provide its client with the capital to buy a new home for herself and the child she had with Mr Bailey. At present, the Princess is renting a property for herself and the child.
It said Mr Bailey has not only failed to implement the terms of the court order but has also “deliberately sought to mislead his ex-wife and the court”.
It said: “His repeated willingness to lie and the blatant contempt that he has shown to Ms Hohenberg-Bailey and the Court are entirely inconsistent with his self-propagated public image of a practising Catholic who lives his faith, including through his involvement in the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, Delegation for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and who has been awarded an OBE for his work as an interfaith campaigner.”
Besides his Catholic titles, Mr Bailey also once held knighthoods from Antigua and Grenada, and styled himself Sir Anthony, before they were rescinded.
Speaking to the Daily Mail from Portugal, Mr Bailey denied, however, that he was “on the run” and insisted that he was unable to return to the UK because he was seriously ill.
He said: “I am being treated for aggressive prostate cancer and the courts knew that. This is where my doctors are and my priority is to get well because how can I rebuild my life unless I am well?”
Mr Bailey said he was successfully treated for cancer but the disease returned amid the stress of going through a divorce.
“I have lost everything,” he said. “My wife, my home, my business, my health. I was a millionaire, yes. I had that life. But it is gone.”
He added: “It has had a devastating effect on my physical and mental health. I had suicidal thoughts and was treated in the Priory. What I have been put through is torture.”
Mr Bailey, grew up in Ruislip, west London, and was nicknamed “Mr Fixit” because of his close contacts with rich and powerful people, including Prince Charles and Tony Blair, the former Labour Prime Minister.
He was credited with raising £8 million for Mr Blair’s flagship City Academies project and he made a personal donation of £50,000 to New Labour in 2006.
A year later, he married Princess Marie-Therese in Austria, after a brief courtship, but in 2016 she walked out of their marriage.
Last year, they sold the family home in Twickenham, south west London, for £4.5 million, a third less than the £6.25 million at which they valued it.
Mr Bailey claimed he has received nothing from the sale but that his ex-wife received £1 million. He claims the divorce battle has left him homeless in the UK, forcing him at times to sleep on his office floor.