Billionaire Learns You Only Divorce Once in $585 Million Fight
A Russian billionaire fighting one of the largest divorce payouts in U.K. history lost a Moscow court case where he was trying to prove that his marriage had been dissolved 16 years earlier.
Farkhad Akhmedov was ordered to pay his wife Tatiana Akhmedova more than 450 million pounds ($585 million) following a London trial that he refused to participate in on the grounds that he was already divorced in Russia. Now the Moscow City Court has rejected an appeal by the businessman seeking to prove the existence of that divorce.
The possibility of a prior divorce has hung over the dispute between Akhmedov and his wife who has been attempting to seize the billionaire’s 115-meter (380-foot), luxury yacht to enforce the payout. The $492 million yacht — the MV Luna — is currently impounded in Dubai.
The Moscow court upheld a decision by a lower court that dismissed an attempt to prove the existence of the earlier divorce proceedings in Russia. Akhmedov failed to submit “sufficient and credible evidence,” the lower court said in its earlier judgment.
During an early appearance in the London case, Akhmedov’s lawyers produced “official” documents confirming the Russian divorce. But Judge Charles Haddon-Cave in his London ruling, which awarded Akhmedova 41 percent of the billionaire’s wealth, suggested that the Moscow documents “were, at all material times, forged.”
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A lawyer for Tatiana Akhmedova said “the only divorce granted to Ms. Akhmedova was that finalized in London in 2016.”
“The Moscow City Court’s decision is closing the net on his increasingly desperate attempts to avoid accepting that reality,” Yuri Kuznetsov, her lawyer, said in a statement.
Akhmedov said in a terse text message that, despite the rulings, the chance of his ex-wife collecting the full judgment was “zero.”
The 63-year-old natural gas magnate has said he’d supported his wife after their marriage was dissolved in Russia. He blamed cynical lawyers for later filing for divorce in London, and U.K. politics for the court’s decision. He said Thursday he planned to appeal the Moscow ruling.