A High Court judge has described a family at the centre of a high-profile £450m divorce battle one of the unhappiest ever to have appeared in her courtroom. Mrs Justice Knowles quoted Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina: ‘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’
Tatiana Akhmedova, the ex-wife of Russian billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov, won a High Court case against her eldest son, Temur Akhmedov, in a long-running battle to recover what she is owed.
In December 2016, Farkhad Akhmedov was ordered by Mr Justice Haddon-Cave in late 2016, to pay his ex-wife £453,576,152 following their divorce. This amounts to a 41.5% share of Mr Akhmedov’s £1 billion-plus fortune, the award is thought to be the biggest of its kind made in Britain
The Court heard that Ms Akhmedova had received approximately £5 million and that Mr Akhmedov has not “voluntarily” paid a penny.
Ms Akhmedova said Mr Akhmedov had tried to put assets beyond her reach and she had taken legal action in Britain and abroad in a bid to get hold of what she is owed.
Mr Akhmedov says because he and his ex-wife are not British and were not married in Britain, a British judge should not have made a decision.
Ms Akhmedova has already become embroiled in litigation with a number of trusts based in Liechtenstein, into which Mr Akhmedov has transferred assets.
Mrs Justice Knowles had been told how Mr Akhmedov had transferred a super-yacht, the Luna, worth around £340 million, and an art collection, worth around £110 million, into the ownership of trusts in Liechtenstein.
In a judgment handed down on the 23rd April 2021, Mrs Justice Knowles said Ms Akhmedova had been the ‘victim of a series of schemes designed to put every penny of the husband’s wealth beyond her reach’.
She had sued Temur, their eldest son, saying he has helped his father – who lives in Russia and was not at the hearing – hide assets and owes her nearly £70 million.
The judge heard that Temur, who denied allegations made against him and said his mother’s claim should be dismissed, had been “showered” with “unimaginable amounts of money” when his parents were together.
Lawyers representing Temur told how his parents had bought him a £29 million London flat when he was 19 and spent around £5 million on furnishings.
Temur’s lawyers described living expenses “beyond the experience” of those who do not “inhabit the world of the uber-rich” and said Temur had lost more than £35 million trading (50 million US dollars) in stocks and shares when a student at the LSE.
Rejecting Temur Akhmedov’s case that he was merely a ‘go-between’ for his father, Mrs Justice Knowles said: ‘Temur told me in his evidence that he had helped his father protect his assets from his mother’s claims. 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.’ The Court ordered that Temur pay Ms Akhmedov £75 million.
Whilst this case concerns a high net worth family, the principles adhered to apply to all cases.
Karen Newman, consultant solictor