Littlewoods children’s billionaire locked in battle for his mother’s £ 40million fortune

Two children from the British billionaire family behind the Littlewoods Pool Empire are engaged in a new battle for their mother’s £ 40million fortune as she claims she wants to keep her former daughter-in-law out of her house money.

The Moores, one of the richest families in the UK, enjoy a fortune estimated last year at £ 1.21 billion, amassed through the iconic Littlewoods football pools and the Empire of mail order, and over the years have owned the Liverpool and Everton football clubs.

The empire was built from the ground up by Sir John Moores, aided by his brother Cecil Moores, with the couple moving from being the son of a mason to three female family members who are said to be richer than the Queen.

The company was sold to the Barclay brothers in 2002 for £ 750million, leaving many family members with vast multi-million dollar fortunes.

But now Cecil’s grandchildren are fighting in court for the spoils of a precious trust fund he established over 70 years ago for the benefit of future generations.

Her daughter, Patricia Moores, died aged 86 in 2017, sparking a High Court battle involving her three children over who pocketed the income from her share of the fund set up by her father in 1949.







Matthew Velarde, who has been involved in a legal case concerning the estate of his mother Patricia Moores
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His eldest son, Christian Velarde, 63, says their mother wanted his younger brother, Matthew, 61, removed from the fund because he had divorced and she feared his ex-wife might claim part of the fund. money. .

However, Matthew – supported by sister Rebecca – says he is entitled to a third part, as his mother’s will was clear in stating his intention to divide everything equally.

Earlier this year, a High Court judge ruled in Matthew’s favor – but Christian continues to fight, insisting the fund is just for him and his sister Rebecca.

Her lawyer, Penelope Reed QC, told Judge Ashley Greenbank that Ms Moores initially intended to split the fund among her three children.

But in 1997 – in the midst of Matthew’s divorce – she did an about-face, naming only Christian and Rebecca as beneficiaries of the fund.

The sibling fight was sparked by his final will, signed in 2007, which divided all of his global assets – with the exception of specific gifts – equally among his children.

The estate was worth £ 40million at the time of his death, but that value did not include his entitlement to the trust fund income, the court said.

Christian also received a gold orchid brooch with a ruby ​​center and diamond leaves with matching gold and diamond earrings, while Matthew received a Cartier watch in gold, the Russian three-ring wedding ring. in gold from her mother, a three-strand pearl necklace with a large emerald and diamond clasp and two pairs of diamond earrings.

Rebecca received an art deco diamond bracelet set in platinum, diamond and pearl earrings, a diamond fern and flower brooch and a lion medallion in gold and silver, while five grandchildren also received received specific gifts of jewelry, plus £ 1million to share equally between them.

A single clause from her will lead to the ongoing fight, however. He says: “I leave a bequest and I entrust all of my real estate and the rest of the residues and the rest of my personal property … to my children Peter Christian Velarde, Matthew Julian Velarde and Rebecca Velarde”.

Matthew – in a High Court-backed case earlier this year – said that meant she revoked her siblings’ appointments in 1997 as the sole beneficiaries of the fund.

But on appeal, Ms Reed told the judge last week that was not enough and that she should have specifically revoked the 1997 ruling if she wanted to include Matthew as a beneficiary in her will.

Highlighting Christian’s evidence, she said Matthew’s divorce was at the root of Ms Moores’ decision to revoke him as the beneficiary of the trust, when there had also been a “general chill” of the relationship between them.

“Matthew was in the process of divorcing his wife at the time and she was investigating family trusts and whether Matthew was a beneficiary of them,” she told the judge.







Photo shows Patricia Moores’ £ 2million Isle of Man home
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“That was the reason for this exclusion.”

She said there was “simply insufficient” wording in the will for a judge to find that she intended to overturn her 1997 ruling and bring Matthew back as the beneficiary of the trust.

“Our simple argument is that there is no mention of the appointment in 1997,” she said.

She continued: “This clause [of the will] was not meant to bear the brunt of undoing something so carefully thought out in 1997. “

But for Matthew, attorney Rodney Stewart Smith said the judge was right earlier this year in ruling that the will was meant to ensure Ms Moores’ assets – including her right to trust income – should be divided. also.

Under her will, Matthew was to inherit a third of his multi-million pound estate, which did not suggest that she wanted to cut it off altogether to prevent his ex-wife from making a claim.

In his witness statement, Matthew said that the divorce and all its financial fallout were concluded in 1998, that her ex had remarried to a “rich” man herself in 1999 and had never attempted to press charges. against him.

Refuting the suggestion of a ‘general cooling’ of the mother-son relationship, Mr Stewart Smith added: “Matthew denies this, and the fact that he was through a third-party beneficiary of Ms Moores’ estate confirms this. “

Patricia Moores had twice said that all of her global assets should be factored in and split equally among her three children, he added.

“The drafting of the will was undoubtedly an occasion on which Ms Moores went through all the arrangements she wished to make upon her death,” he said.

Ms Moores – who died at her £ 2million six-bedroom Isle of Man home, which was set on 2.8 acres, with a pool and separate staff quarters – was reportedly given 25million pounds sterling from the 2002 Littlewoods sale.

The company was built by the Moores brothers, who were later immortalized in bronze as statues in Liverpool, where the swimming pool company was founded, and Sir John gave its name to the city’s John Moores University.

In 1992, Business Age magazine, ranking Britain’s richest women, placed Moores family members Donabella Moores, Lady Grantchester and Patricia Martin in the top ten, with fortunes larger than those reported by the queen at the time at £ 100million.

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