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Kenneth C. Griffin and his wife, Anne Dias Griffin. | Andrew Campbell photography

Timing of divorce filing stuns billionaire Ken Griffin’s wife

Sneed is told that billionaire CEO Ken Griffin stunned his estranged second wife, Anne Dias Griffin, by filing for divorce Wednesday just before the courts closed while she and their three children were en route out of the country.

News of the powerhouse couple’s divorce proceedings sent shockwaves throughout the philanthropic community, which is indebted to the couple’s generosity.

It also saddened close friends.



Sources familiar with the situation claim that the couple, who separated last year, were in settlement negotiations as recently as Monday, shortly before Anne was due to leave on a family holiday to London with the couple’s three children, ages 2, 3 and 6.

An informed source tells Sneed that Anne was in the car with her children on their way to the airport when she got an email from her husband informing her via a press statement that he was filing for divorce — “presumably knowing she couldn’t call him back immediately because their children would overhear the conversation,” a source said. “She thought they were still in settlement negotiations.”

◆ However, an informed source in the Ken Griffin camp tells Sneed this could not have been a surprise to his wife, who “knew he was done — because proposals which had been on the table for the last five months in order to avoid going to court had not come to fruition. It had been bubbling for days.”

The divorce papers filed by Griffin claimed: “Any attempt at reconciliation would be impractical and not in the best interest of the family.”

Sneed is told that the powerful couple had been in the midst of a renegotiation battle over a prenuptial agreement signed before their marriage in 2003.

“I wouldn’t mess with Anne,” said one of her admirers. “She is his match and qualified to go one-on-one with Ken.”

Anne Griffin, a money manager, entrepreneur and managing partner of Aragon Global Management, was born in France and came to the U.S. in 1998. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University, where she once worked as an overnight security guard to pay for tuition.

Anne Griffin’s lawyer, New York attorney Robert Stephan Cohen — who has been described as the “pit bull” who successfully represented actress Ellen Barkin in her divorce from uber-rich New York businessman Ron Perelman — claims he was not informed that the divorce papers were being filed and didn’t get a copy right away.

“Anne’s highest priority remains her family, especially the well being of her children,” Cohen said in a news release.

Sneed is told that Anne Griffin, who is still out of the country, has yet to be served with the papers.

Lawyers from the firm Berger Schatz, which represents Ken Griffin, released the following statement: “This is a personal matter, and the family asks for privacy as they work through this process and focus on the well-being of their children.”

The Griffins celebrated their marriage in 2003 at the Palace of Versailles outside Paris in a two-day extravaganza featuring singer Donna Summer and the Cirque du Soleil, where the entire wedding assemblage was treated to an aerial act “involving people attached to large helium balloons,” according to a 2007 article in Fortune magazine.

The Shamiya tragedy . . .

Gov. Pat Quinn personally donated $1,000 to help defray the funeral costs for 11-year-old Shamiya Adams, who was killed Friday by a stray bullet while she was at a friend’s house for a sleepover. Her funeral is planned for Saturday at the Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park.

Jay and Bey . . .

As per Sneed’s prediction, first lady Michelle Obama showed up at Soldier Field for the Jay-Z and Beyonce concert Thursday. She was with her daughters, Sasha and Malia, and planned to stay overnight with them at their home in Kenwood so they could catch up with some old friends.

CONTINUE READING MICHAEL SNEED'S COLUMN AT SUNTIMES.COM