Russian billionaire, Farkhad Akhmedov who was ordered to pay £453m to his former wife commenced his challenge to the award in the Court of Appeal in London last week.
Tatiana Akhmedova was given a 41.5 per cent share of her ex-husband’s £1 billion-plus fortune after a contested hearing in 2016. The settlement was believed to be the biggest ever made by a divorce court in England.
At the original hearing Ms. Akhmedova had argued that she was entitled to almost half of their fortune after 20 years of marriage and due to her equal contributions to the welfare of the family. Mr. Akhmedova’s legal team claimed that, ‘The procedures allowed by the family court were manifestly unjust’. The appeal raises issues concerning legal professional privilege.
At the Court of Appeal hearing Hodge Malek QC on behalf of Ms. Akhmedova accused Mr. Akhmedov of being 'flagrantly in contempt of court' telling appeal judges Sir James Munby, Lord Justice Lewison and Lady Justice King that, 'Despite being awarded in aggregate £453,576,152 before interest and costs (she) has to date received nothing from (him) save for some de minimis assets in the U.K.'
The case highlights that even in an ultra-high net worth situation with a record breaking divorce settlement, conversion of a court ordered award into reality is not always straightforward. This is especially so perhaps where there is a reluctant/aggrieved party, and a complex global asset picture often involving third party interests.
The awaited Court of Appeal decision will be of interest to advisors and their high net worth clients in the Cayman Islands and beyond.