"You can either give up or you can just keep going. That's it," says Sir Owen Glenn, on the phone from London.

"My latest scans are all clear so that's good news but every three months I go along and roll the dice."

Glenn, who has been battling cancer since 2012, was celebrating a major legal victory over former business partner Eric Watson this week.

The High Court in England and Wales ruled Watson had engaged in "deliberate deception" when the pair set up a joint venture.


Glenn had seen a large chunk of his fortune tied up in the arrangement, and had spent the past five years fighting in English, California and British Virgin Islands courts to extricate himself and his £129 million ($250m).

He's also seeking compensation for legal costs and the opportunity cost of having the money frozen — although that won't be decided until September and he can't comment on how much he is seeking.

For his part, Watson disputes the judgment. He has said he has a new legal team and will look to appeal the decision.

"This is by no means over and I look forward to success in the course of time," Watson said this week.

"The judge didn't pull any punches," says Glenn. "It's all in the judgment. I don't know what there is to appeal against because it's written so carefully."

For now though, Glenn says he is happy just to get back to business — most of which is philanthropic these days.

"I'm just getting on with life. It's caused me a lot of health problems, it's been a drag on me but I never gave up. For my part I just wanted justice," he says.

Glenn, 78, was born in India to British expat parents and moved to New Zealand aged 11.


He has loved the country ever since — even though he spent most of his adult life amassing a large fortune in Europe with his freight and logistics business.

"I'm doing all sorts of different things in different areas in New Zealand. It's still my country and I still love it," he says.

He is a passionate supporter of New Zealand Hockey — financially and as a fan — and is in London for the Women's World Cup.

"They just got pushed out unfortunately but I took them out for dinner. I look after the boys as well."

Glenn is optimistic about the future and is not letting health worries hold him back.
"Mate, I've got tickets to the Olympics and I've got tickets to the Rugby World Cup," he says.

He has a trip to China planned, and will be back in Auckland this year for an Auckland University Business school event.

Since 2002 he has donated around $15m to the school, and stays involved with support for a postgraduate scholarship programme.

"The philanthropy has carried on," he says. "Luckily, it wasn't all my money [frozen in the joint venture]."

He rattles through a list of projects on the go, including further investment in the Business School's incubator programme and funding for Rotorua's Howard Morrison cultural centre.

"I'm still hoping to build a medical school in Hamilton," he adds.

There's also a programme called HELPS, through the Glenn Family Foundation, which he describes as being a bit like the Peace Corps.

"We've already sent candidates to Nepal, Vietnam, India and the Philippines," he says.

"These are people sent overseas that work on anything from solar energy to water purification ... sanitation. So all that's in full cry."

Glenn was famously caught up in a political scandal in 2008 around donations he made to the Labour Party and New Zealand First.

Winston Peters initially denied having received a $100,000 donation from Glenn, but was later censured by Parliament when it emerged the donation had been made.

"Last election I gave $50,000 to Labour and I gave 50,000 to National and they both took it," Glenn says.

"People said 'why did you give it to both of them?' I said I want the country to get a clear view."

"Then I offered ten [thousand] to Winston and he didn't take it.

"But I had a feeling he would take it if I made it 100," he adds with a wry laugh.