An American banker who amassed personal wealth of more than £300 million was not thinking straight when he told a divorce court he was a genius.
For the judge disagreed with his boast and awarded his wife half of his fortune.
Randy Work argued that he should not hand over £180 million to his estranged wife Mandy Gray because he had made a special contribution to the couple’s bank balance because of his genius.
Work, 49, made his money as a commission and bonus mainly for negotiating a deal for his employer running a Japanese venture between 1998 and 2008.
However, in an earlier hearing, Mr Justice Holman told Work that he was simply in the right place at the right time to make his money and that he could see no reason to term him a genius.
Instead, said the judge, the term should be reserved for those with superlative abilities, such as Einstein, Mozart and Leonardo da Vinci.
Work’s legal team were trying to persuade three judges at the Court of Appeal in London that he should only hand his former wife 39% of his fortune.
The case had already failed at two lower courts, who ruled no special circumstances applied.
Fighting the decisions has cost Work £3 million in legal fees.
To observers, £180 million would seem enough money for anyone to spend without diminishing the amount even further with costly bills from lawyers.
The couple separated shortly after arriving in London in 2008, so closure would seem worthwhile after eight years of arguing in and out of court.
“I personally find that [genius is] a difficult, and perhaps unhelpful, word in this context,” Mr Justice Holman had said.
“To my mind, the word tends to be overused and is properly reserved for Leonardo Da Vinci, Mozart, Einstein and others like them.”
The view was expressed more fully in the handed down judgment at the Court of Appeal.
“The husband contends that the judge failed to accord sufficient weight to the husband’s contribution, namely the amount generated by him over the course of 10 years, and gave excess weight to the wife’s contribution,” said the judges.
“We do not consider that the husband has pointed to any matter which the judge failed to take into account or wrongly took into account.”