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McCartney's Estranged Wife Berates Rich

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November 21, 2007 09:12 PM EST | AP

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DUBLIN, Ireland — Heather Mills McCartney, who is reportedly seeking millions of dollars in her breakup with Paul McCartney, denounced the world's rich as misers and snobs Wednesday.

Mills McCartney delivered the critical comments during her 90-minute speech to the debating society of Trinity College Dublin.

Former model Mills McCartney, 39, married the 65-year-old music legend in 2002 and gave birth to the couple's only child, Beatrice, a year later. But the couple separated last year, and McCartney filed for divorce alleging "unreasonable behavior" by his wife.

Mills McCartney said she was reluctantly obliged to befriend the world's wealthy because that was the only way to maximize her power as an agent for change.

"Sadly, you have to mix at a certain level of people to raise the level of funds you need to bring about the greater good," she said. "Because people are very snobby. These people who have lots of money, they're either snobby or they're stingy. If you have lots of money, you have to be stingy _ because why would you want that amount of money?"

She also compared herself to human rights crusaders down through the ages, suggesting they all had been victimized for their beliefs.

"If you look at every single person in the history of the world who has tried to make a difference, you'll find a very long section of their lives where they were treated horrifically by the government or by the media," she said.

Paul McCartney's personal wealth is estimated at $1.6 billion. British press reports have speculated that McCartney has offered his wife around $50 million, while she is seeking at least double that amount.