In one of the biggest divorce cases in history, Oklahoma oilman Harold Hamm could have to split his $US17 billion fortune with his estranged wife, Sue Ann Hamm, according to Reuters.
The divorce trial of the founder of Continental Resources, one of the biggest petroleum liquids producer in the United States, is under a tight lockdown (in order to protect shareholders), but economic analysis has shown that Hamm would have acquired $US17.6 billion during his 26 year marriage to Sue Ann.
Hamm’s enormous wealth comes from his 68% stake in his ‘Oil Champion’ company, resulting in him potentially being the biggest owner of oil in America.
Reuters reported that if Hamm ends up with a large divorce settlement, he would have to finance it by selling Continental shares and his control in the company could dissolve.
For a divorce settlement under Oklahoma law, the question comes down to how the fortune during the marriage was obtained. In other words, were there “active efforts” by either spouse to obtain the wealth — or did it just happen?
Sue Ann Hamm’s legal team would argue that Continental’s growth resulted from the “active leadership and astute decision-making” of her estranged husband. While Harold’s attorneys will try to prove that its growth resulted from “factors beyond his control.”
Hamm founded Continental in 1967, and married Sue Ann over two decades later in 1988. She was a former attorney at the company. They filed for divorce in February of 2014.
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