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Spat between ihug founder and ex-wife hits High Court

Monday 19th August 2019

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Former ihug co-founder Tim Wood is being sued by his former wife Sasha, in a High Court case involving three Queen's Counsel. 

Tim is best known for founding internet company ihug with brother Nick, which became New Zealand's third-largest ISP before being sold in 2003 for $82 million.

A preliminary hearing was held today in the High Court at Auckland, with plaintiff Sasha represented by top divorce lawyer Deborah Chambers QC. 

Jan McCartney QC represents Tim in his personal capacity, while Jane Anderson QC is representing several trusts involved in the dispute. 

The case is in its early stages, and as such associate judge Roger Bell excluded media from this morning's hearing. 

The associate judge did so because the defence lawyers objected to BusinessDesk's presence. 

Today's court list indicates the hearing was for a security for costs application. This is often sought if a defendant believes a plaintiff won't be able to pay costs if they lose. 

The public list also indicates discovery to be an issue. 

In the 1990s, the ISP's owners - Tim, Nick and father John - were said to be worth $75 million according to the National Business Review's annual rich list, but have since dropped off the publication's radar. 

The web entrepreneur owns a 37 percent stake in Mexicali Fresh and Burger Wisconsin-owner Mariposa Restaurant Holdings, through the company Mirage Property Investments. 

Tim and Sasha had also been involved in the local film industry, taking associate producer credits on 'The Dark Horse' in 2015. At the time, media journalist Russell Brown reported the Woods invested $500,000 into the film which starred Cliff Curtis. 

According to the NZ Film Commission's annual report for 2015 the film, about a chess player, generated $1.95 million at the box office. 

The duo were also associate producers on local art house drama 'Everything We Loved'. 

Sasha retains a shareholding in film production company Four Knight's Film while Tim stopped being a shareholder in August 2017. 


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