Russian tycoon conspired with son to stop wife getting divorce payoutApril 21, 2021
Billionaire Russian tycoon’s ex-wife wins latest round of battle to get hands on £453m divorce settlement as judge orders her eldest son to pay £75m he helped his father hide
- Tatiana Akhmedova said tycoon Farkhad Akhmedov, 64, has hidden assets
- She accused their son Temur Akhmedov, 27, of acting as his father’s ‘lieutenant’
- Claims he colluded with oligarch to conceal fortune of nearly £70million
A Russian billionaire’s ex-wife has won the latest round of her battle for a £453million divorce payout as a judge orders her eldest son to pay the £75million he helped his father hide.
Tatiana Akhmedova said her ex-husband, oil and gas tycoon Farkhad Akhmedov, 64, has hidden assets.
She accused their son Temur Akhmedov, 27, of acting as his father’s ‘lieutenant’ who colluded with the oligarch to conceal a fortune of nearly £70million owed to her.
Mr Akhmedov did not want to pay Ms Akhmedova, 48, even ‘a penny’ following Britain’s most expensive ever divorce case in 2016.
A judge on Wednesday made rulings in Ms Akhmedova’s favour, saying very large sums had been transferred to her son.
She concluded he must pay her around £75 million.
Farkhad Akhmedov, 64, (left) an oil and gas tycoon, was found to have used his son Temur, 27 as a ‘lieutenant’ and colluded with him to conceal his fortune so that he would not have to pay ex-wife Tatiana Akhmedova, 48, (right) even ‘a penny’ following Britain’s most expensive ever divorce case in 2016
Mrs Justice Gwynneth Knowles had considered evidence in the battle between mother and son at a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
During their marriage the couple enjoyed an incredibly lavish lifestyle, with a £39million mansion in Surrey as their family home, as well as a £27.8million holiday home.
Mr Akhmedov – who was previously estimated to be worth upwards of £900million – was included in a ‘Putin list’, released by the US Treasury Department, which gives the names of 210 prominent Russians with close ties to the Kremlin.
He owns a £90million art collection and has a private jet valued at around £42million.
In 2014, he bought a 377ft super-yacht called Luna from Roman Abramovich for an eye-watering £300million.
The damming High Court ruling against Mr Akhmedov, one of Russia’s richest men, came after his former wife successfully sued her son Temur (pictured) for a share of the mammoth divorce settlement
The vessel has nine cabins and enough room for 18 guests and was built especially for Mr Abramovich.
But after the couple – who have two children together – split following more than 20 years of marriage, he was ordered him to give up a huge chunk of his fortune – one of the biggest awards made by a UK court.
Ms Akhmedova claimed that Temur plotted with his father to prevent her getting her divorce settlement by either receiving vast sums himself or helping him to hide it in a series of offshore trusts.
During a two-week trial last year, Temur denied the allegations but Mrs Justice Knowles ruled today: ‘Their eldest son, Temur, confirmed in his oral evidence that the Husband (Mr Akhmedov) would rather have seen the money burnt than for the wife to receive a penny of it.
‘Regrettably, those schemes were carried out with Temur’s knowledge and active assistance. He was, indeed, his father’s lieutenant.
‘Temur has learned well from his father’s past conduct and has done and said all he could to prevent his mother receiving a penny of the matrimonial assets.’
Responding to today’s judgment, a spokesman for Temur said: ‘Like millions of young people, Temur has been caught up in the break-up of his parents’ marriage. He never sought to take sides or get involved but inevitably found himself sucked into the vortex of a bitter family dispute.
‘His subsequent actions were only ever motivated by his desire to end the war between his parents.
‘While he fundamentally disagrees with this judgment, he would consider it a price worth paying for should it lead to a reasonable settlement between both the parents he loves.’
At the centre of the early divorce battle was the £300million superyacht Luna – first bought in 2014.
In 2014, Mr Akhmedov bought a 377ft super-yacht called Luna (pictured) for an eye-watering £300million
Ahead of last year’s trial, Temur’s luxury flat in One Hyde Park, London, was raided after Ms Akhmedova successful obtained a court order for documentary and electronic evidence to be seized
How did the battle over Britain’s biggest divorce settlement play out?
Farkhad Akhmedov and Tatiana Akhmedova were married for 20 years and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle.
They had a £39million mansion in Surrey as their family home, as well as a £27.8million holiday home.
In 2014, he bought a £300million 377ft super-yacht called Luna from Mr Abramovich for an eye-watering £300million.
But the couple split and, at the end of 2016, a judge ordered Mr Akhmedov to hand over £453million to his former-wife.
A long, drawn-out legal battle began from there:
Late 2016 – Mr Akhmedov is ordered by a judge to pay £453million to his wife
January 2018 – Lawyers argued that the hearing was unfair, claiming that ‘the family court’s attitude was to espouse without restraint’ his ex wife’s case.
Ms Akhmedova, said that, despite the court’s order, she had to date received almost ‘nothing’ from her ex.
February 2018 – A source close to the businessman told MailOnline: ‘Mr Akhmedov has given his ex-wife a country home worth £20 million in Weybridge’.
February 2018 – Three Court of Appeal judges ruled that the oligarch’s former solicitor had rightly been ordered to reveal the whereabouts of his art collection, worth more than £90 million.
March 2018 – Ms Akhmedova claims Mr Akhmedov is hiding assets to avoid paying her.
April 2018 – Mr Akhmedov is ordered to hand over his £183million superyacht to his former wife after a judge held he had tried to hide it from her in an ‘elaborate’ plan to ‘evade and frustrate’ his ex by moving the 377ft vessel between an array of offshore companies.
March 2018 – Mr Akhmedov has £300m superyacht Luna seized by bailiffs – acting for the High Court – in Dubai.
May 2018 – British web designer admits to having a long-term affair with Ms Akhmedov.
August 2018 – Judge Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said Ms Akhmedova is being ‘prejudiced’ by continued delay and said the gas and oil tycoon was in contempt.
August 2018 – Dubai court refuses to return his superyacht.
September 2018 – It is revealed that Mr Akhmedov offered his ex £4million-a-year for life plus an £80million lump sum when he dies – but she turned it down.
November 2018 – Mr Akhmedov wins the right to keep his £350million superyacht and stop it being handed to his ex-wife.
December 2018 – Mr Akhmedov has his £5million helicopter seized and sold with the money going to his ex-wife.
Bailiffs acting for Ms Akhmedova took control of the Eurocopter when it landed in Turkey.
March 2019 – Mr Akhmedov wins battle to keep Luna out of the hands of his former wife.
An appeal court in the United Arab Emirates ruled an earlier decision by a lower court in Dubai impounding the luxury vessel had been wrong.
Senior appeal judges ruled the divorce settlement awarded to Ms Akhmedova by a British court couldn’t be enforced in Dubai.
April 2019 – Mr Akhmedov announces he is personally suing his ex-wife Ms Akhmedova for £88 million for trying to seize control of the super yacht.
January 2020 – It is revealed that Ms Akhmedova will go head to head against her son Temur in the High Court.
May 2020 – Ms Akhmedova claims Temur played a ‘central role’ in placing the £450million she was owed by her ex-husband beyond her reach.
July 2020 – Judge makes an order freezing £94million of Temur’s assets.
August 2020 – Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, who analysed the case at a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London, said Ms Akhmedova should walk away with £453 million.
August 2020 – Judge in Dubai rules Mr Akhmedov is the rightful owner of the yacht.
October 2020 – Ms Akhmedova has her son’s £30 million home in One Hyde Park searched for evidence that he helped his billionaire father hide his money from her.
December 2020 – Temur claims Ms Akhmedova had two affairs with younger men while married to her Russian oligarch husband.
December 2020 – Mr Akhmedov says he would rather ‘burn’ his money than pay his ex-wife’s divorce settlement.
December 2020 – Temur says he ‘did not know’ whether he owned a £346,000 Rolls Royce.
Mr Akhmedov was ordered to hand over the vessel to his former wife after a judge held he had tried to hide it in an ‘elaborate’ plan to ‘evade and frustrate’ her by moving the 377ft vessel between an array of offshore companies.
The yacht was seized by bailiffs in Dubai – with a local court refusing to return it to Mr Akhmedov.
But a judge later changed his mind, ruling that the tycoon is the rightful owner.
Mrs Justice Knowles accused Mr Akhemdov of instigating ‘dishonest schemes’ to hide his wealth, ruling that they were put into effect by his advisors and Temur.
She noted: ‘The wife has been the victim of a series of schemes designed to put every penny of the Husband’s wealth beyond her reach.
‘That strategy was designed to render the wife powerless by ensuring that, if she did not settle her claim for financial relief following their divorce on the husband’s terms, there would be no assets left for her to enforce against.’
Mrs Justice Knowles also launched a scathing attack on Temur, ruling that he ‘lied to this court on numerous occasions; breached court orders; and failed to provide full disclosure of his assets.’
He was also slammed for withholding vital evidence.
The judge added: ‘I find that he is a dishonest individual who will do anything to assist his father, no doubt because he is utterly dependent on his father for financial support.’
During the trial, the court heard details of the unbelievable wealth that was lavished on Temur as part of Mr Akhmedov’s determination not to give his ex-wife her divorce pay out.
Among the most sensational revelations to emerge was that Temur lost £35million ($50million) of his father’s money investing in stocks and shares in 2015 and was given millions of pounds more the following year, incurring further losses.
He told the court that he was a victim of ‘bad luck.’
Mrs Justice Knowles ruled: ‘The transfers of very large sums of money to Temur in 2015 and 2016 were driven by the husband’s overarching desire to keep his assets from the wife…
‘Temur understood his father’s purposes at the relevant times and worked with him to achieve the aim of preserving assets for the family by keeping them out of the wife’s hands.’
At 19 – while a student at the London School of Economics – Temur was given a £29million flat in One Hyde Park, the country’s most exclusive apartment block with another £5million spent on refurbishing it.
The court also heard how he was given a £120,000 Mercedes jeep at the age of 17, left home with an ‘unlimited credit card’ and later had a number of luxury cars, including a £346,000 Rolls Royce, which he claimed in court that he ‘did not know’ he owned.
The trial also heard sensational details about the breakdown within the family with Temur accusing his mother of having affairs with two men while still married to Mr Akhmedov.
Ahead of last year’s trial, Temur’s luxury London flat was raided after Ms Akhmedova successful obtained a court order for documentary and electronic evidence to be seized.
Mrs Justice Knowles noted in her ruling: ‘All happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
‘With apologies to Tolstoy, the Akhmedov family is one of the unhappiest ever to have appeared in my courtroom.’
Ms Akhmedov is also involved in litigation to try and secure her divorce settlement from her ex-husband via a number of trusts and companies he established in four other countries; the US; Dubai; Russia and Liechtenstein.
She is backed by Burford Capital, a litigation finance firm that will take a slice of her payout if it succeeds in recovering her divorce settlement.
In a statement, Mr Akhmedov said: ‘Following the London High Court’s scandalous award to my ex-wife in 2016, Burford has embarked on a staggeringly expensive global tour of the world’s courts seeking to seize assets from me and from family trusts.
‘Having failed in four years to secure a meaningful judgment and got nothing from any court in the world, they returned to London to bring a cowardly action against our son.
‘Entirely predictably, given its original wrong and misguided judgment, the London court has ruled in favour of visiting ‘the sins’ of the father on an innocent and loyal son.’
Responding to today’s judgment, Ms Akhmedova said: ‘Since our divorce in 2016 the conduct of my ex-husband Farkhad, has left a trail of destruction and pain in his wake.
‘He has driven a vendetta born from his lies, that set out to destroy not only myself but sadly to try and drive a wedge between a mother and son. Fortunately that bond is unbreakable.
‘As a father he has manipulated his parental responsibility, as a husband he has dishonoured the role of being a good father and instead has sought to destroy and drive his vindictive propaganda to manipulate, mock and utilise the courts in England and overseas.
‘Today’s judgment is the inevitable conclusion given Farkhad’s failure to behave honourably in the first instance. This settlement should have been reached amicably as I offered on so many occasions.
At the centre of the battle was the £300million superyacht – which he was ordered to hand over to his former wife after a judge held he had tried to hide it from her in an ‘elaborate’ plan to ‘evade and frustrate’ her by moving the 377ft vessel between an array of offshore companies
Pictured: The 115m yacht is the focus of Britain’s most costliest divorce
‘Money does not replace the permanent damage and scars to my children or the devastation that Farkhad has implemented on his own family and children.
‘As a mother and grandmother, I will gladly take the protectorate role over my family where Farkhad has failed. I always knew that my strength would prevail through the smoke and mirrors as presented by Farkhad and his circus of illusionists.
A family spokesperson added: ‘Tatiana’s relationship with Temur is now very strange indeed.
‘There is hope, certainly from Tatiana, this relationship can be restored over time. She of course loves her son.
‘But it was appropriate she take this action and we are pleased though not surprised the High Court agrees.
‘It is important to note Tatiana is a private person, has not spoken during this case and wishes to move forward with her life.
‘She hopes she can focus on the future now she has removed Farkhad’s shadow from her life and it has been found in law she was correct in pursuing this case.’
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