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Swedish 'countess' in bitter US divorce trial

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Swedish 'countess' in bitter US divorce trial
11:42 CET+01:00
Marie Douglas-David, a Swedish socialite, has claimed that she was a prisoner in her marriage to US mogul George David as their divorce proceedings opened in a US court on Monday.

Douglas-David is claiming more than $100 million from her ex-husband.

According to their prenuptial agreement Marie Douglas-David is entitled to $43 million after her divorce from former United Technologies CEO George David, worth an estimated $329 million.

Not enough claims the Swedish socialite who is widely reported to have very expensive tastes, spending $200,000 a week on expenses, according to the New York Post.

Douglas-David's weekly expenses included $4,500 for clothes; $1,000 for hair and skin treatments; $1,500 for restaurants and entertainment; $8,000 for travel; $700 for limousine services; $2,209 for an assistant; $1,570 for horse care; and $600 for flowers, according to court documents.

As divorce proceedings opened in a Connecticut court on Monday, Marie Douglas-David claimed that her ex-husband was a jealous control freak that kept her locked in a "gilded cage" of luxury.

Since her 2002 wedding to George David, the 36-year-old Douglas-David has built up a portfolio of property in Sweden while living the life of luxury afforded by being married to one of the USA's wealthiest businessmen.

But in court Douglas-David has argued that all was not as gilt-edged as it seems and central to the divorce proceedings is that her ex-husband barred her from working, controlled everything in her life and, after the divorce, left her without any significant assets barring a mere $36 million in United Technologies stock.

He is accused of choosing to play golf in Florida instead of flying to Sweden to be by her side after she had suffered a miscarriage. A claim whose validity George David disputes.

In 2004 private investigators working for George David found out that Douglas-David was having an affair and he filed for divorce but let the filing lapse. David has since filed four times for divorce and his ex-wife in return on one occasion.

But in 2006 George David finally carried through with his threat and followed through with a divorce ending the couple's stormy nine year relationship.

Douglas-David is a distant relation to the Swedish financier Gustaf Douglas, who carries the title of count, and is widely erroneously described in the media as a countess - a title which is afforded only to the wife or widow of a count.

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