MONTREAL - Canadian billionaire Robert Miller, the elusive owner of the global Future Electronics empire, is trading sizzling cross-border allegations of misconduct and financial wrongdoing with his former long-time wife.
Miller, 63, is accusing his ex-wife, Margaret Antonier, of having a romance with his former chief financial officer and siphoning up to $10 million from Miromar Development, a Florida real estate venture she operates but in which he owns half the shares, Quebec court records show.
For her part, Antonier alleges in Florida court records that she asked Miller for a divorce in 2005 after discovering that her billionaire husband engaged in what her lawyers describe in the court documents as alleged "horrible wrongdoings'' and "wrongful acts. "
In the Florida court records, Antonier claims that even though the couple had a "a successful marriage" for 37 years, they divorced in 2006 "in large part" after he engaged in what Antonier's lawyers described in Florida records as "activities of Mr. Miller that are so offensive that he has insisted that the (divorce) proceedings (in Montreal) be sealed" from the public .
Antonier's lawyers also have outlined details of Miller's alleged misbehaviour in court records filed in Florida, but Miller's lawyers have moved to seal those records.
A hearing is set for Friday.
Michael Vathilakis, a lawyer at Future Electronics, declined to take questions or comment on Antonier's misconduct allegations, saying the matter remains before the courts.
Lawyers for Antonier said, in Florida court records, that Miller's allegations of theft and fraud against her are "brazen and false," a mere ruse designed to further delay the settlement of their prolonged divorce settlement proceedings in Montreal.
Antonier and Miller's claims are allegations and must all be proven at a future trial or hearing.
In a rare 2007 interview with business journalist and author Diane Francis, published in her 2008 book, Who Owns Canada Now, Miller reportedly said that his 2006 divorce with wife Antonier was "amicable." He called her "a special friend and brilliant businesswoman."
However, the civil court documents that the ex-lovers have filed in Lee County Circuit Court in Florida and in Montreal show a far different reality - a no-holds-barred fight over Miller's $2 billion fortune and a nasty feud involving a Florida development company they co-own.
Miller, who lives in a $5.4 million Westmount home and who has an estimated $2.5 billion fortune , and Antonier, of Estero, Fla, separated in 2005 and were quietly divorced in 2006, the Florida and Quebec civil court records show.
In the Quebec court records, Miller accuses Antonier, a former Montreal radio advertising sales executive, of becoming "romantically involved" with his company's former CFO, executive Robert Roop, but he does not specify if the alleged involvement occurred pre or post divorce,
Miller also accuses Antonier and Roop in the court records of "engaging in, or appearing to engage in," theft and diversion of corporate funds and revenue streams, making false filings to the state of Florida and financial statement irregularities in a series of Miromar affiliates.
Together, Antonier and Roop have diverted millions from Miromar Development and Miller has asked the court to appoint a receiver, the Quebec court records state.
Antonier's lawyers say in the Florida court documents that despite her "exceptional contribution" to building his Future Electronics through unpaid work, Miller asked the Quebec divorce court to award her only half the family's residence and furnishings.
Antonier is seeking that Miller's company surrender all its shares in Miromar to her and that $82.5 million in loans that Future Electronics made to Miromar be forgiven, the Florida court documents state.
Her lawyers in Florida say in the court records that Antonier has secured a pre-judgment court order in the Montreal divorce proceedings that has frozen all his shares of Future Electronics and all those of his holding company, Robmilco Holdings.
Future Electronics' Pointe Claire headquarters on Montreal's West Island was searched by Montreal police early last November. That Montreal search warrant is sealed.
No charges have been laid and Future Electronics declined all comment.