The Billionaire, His Ex-Wife and a $557 Million Divorce Bill

The entrance of the Supreme Court in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

LONDON (AFP) — A judge in London on Tuesday said she hoped to rule in the coming weeks in the long-running case of a divorcee whose billionaire ex-husband owes her more than $550 million.

The High Court of England and Wales awarded Tatiana Akhmedova 41.5% of Farkhad Akhmedov’s $1 billion-plus fortune in 2016, a total of $557 million.

Azerbaijan-born Akhmedov became a senator in Russia after making his money in oil and gas. He featured on a 2018 U.S. government list of Russian business and political elites.

But the court has been told the wealthy oligarch and purported ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin had only stumped up $6 million — and not voluntarily.

His ex-wife has launched legal action in Britain and overseas to try to get her hands on the cash and assets, including a $425 million superyacht and a $141 million art collection.

Judge Gwynneth Knowles finished hearing the latest round of proceedings on Tuesday and said she hoped to deliver a ruling before the end of July.

She was told Akhmedov, 64, had transferred the yacht and the art collection into the ownership of trusts in Liechtenstein in what Akhmedova has described as a “strategy of evasion”.

He bought the 377-foot yacht — the MV Luna — from the Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich.

Judge Knowles has heard from trustees, who say that orders for them to transfer the assets to Akhmedova would be illegal under Liechtenstein law.

Lawyers for Akhmedova have called for the applications to be dismissed.

But Akhmedov’s legal team have argued that because he and his wife are not British, a British judge should not have made a decision in the case.

He says the couple were divorced in Moscow in 2000 but the court has said it could find no evidence of the claim.

© Agence France-Presse

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