EXCLUSIVE: Ex-wife of Russian oligarch at the centre of UK’s biggest divorce loses her bid to seize his £350m superyacht as part of her record settlement
- Farkhad Akmedov is fighting a divorce with his former wife, Tatiana Akhmedova
- Tatiana was awarded a £453million settlement by London’s High Court in 2016
- But oil and gas tycoon Akhmedov refuses to acknowledge the ruling, saying the divorced in Russia years before
- Central to their dispute is his £350million superyacht called Luna, which is docked in Dubai
- A fortnight ago Tatiana’s lawyers said a court in the Marshall Islands where the yacht’s registered had issued an order giving them the right to seize it
- But in a dramatic turnaround, the same court now says it has no power to enforce the order because only a Dubai court can enforce a change of ownership
The ex-wife of a Russian oligarch at the centre of Britain’s biggest divorce battle has lost her bid to seize his £300million super yacht.
Tatiana Akhmedova had applied to a court in the Marshall Islands, where it is registered, to take over ownership of the 115 metre Luna as part of her £453million divorce settlement.
In 2016, Ms Akhmedova, 48, was awarded the record sum at London’s High Court following the end of her 20-year marriage to gas tycoon Farkhad Akhmedov, 64.
But she has received only a tiny fraction of the amount, around £45million and has spent the past few years locked in legal action with the Luna at the centre of her attempts to get the full amount she was awarded.
Two weeks ago, her representatives announced that a court in the Marshall Islands, which are in the central Pacific Ocean, had issued an order giving them the right to seize the super yacht from Mr Akhmedov and that they had hired SBS operatives to do this.
Russian oil and gas tycoon Farkhad Akhmedov (left), 64, is fighting his ex-wife Tatiana Akhmedova (right), 48, over a £453million divorce settlement she was awarded in London
Central to the former couple’s dispute is Akhmedov’s £350million superyacht (pictured)
The 115 metre-long ship (pictured) which Akhmedov bought from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been impounded in Dubai while the warring ex-couple fight over his assets
Tatiana had applied to a court in the Marshall Islands, where it is registered, to take over ownership of the 115 metre Luna (above) as part of her £453million divorce settlement
But earlier this week in a dramatic turnaround, the same court ruled that it had no power to enforce the order because only a court in Dubai, where the Luna is currently docked, could enforce a change of ownership.
In a written ruling, the court stated: ‘The Republic of the Marshall Island Maritime Administrator will not comply with the Order….the Court cannot compel the Administrator to comply with the Court’s order to transfer title (of the Luna).’
A Dubai court has already ruled in 2020 that the Luna could not be handed over to Ms Akhmedova because it had no right to enforce the London High Court’s order freezing his assets, which was issued at the end of the divorce hearing.
Mr Akhmedov bought the Luna in 2014 from Roman Abramovich for an eye-watering £300million.
The vessel has nine cabins and enough room for 18 guests and was built especially for the Chelsea owner. It comes equipped with two helipads; a vast swimming pool; a mini submarine and has one of only two multipurpose custom-made lifeboat-limousines in the world at a cost of over £2.8m each.
Akhmedov has refused to accept the British divorce courts decision to pay his wife £453m claiming he and his wife were already divorced when they lived in Moscow
A spokesman for Mr Akhmedov said: ‘These judgements, although welcome, come as absolutely no surprise. The judge’s admission that the Marshall Island Registrar cannot be compelled to transfer the ownership confirms what our lawyers have always argued: that the Luna falls totally under the jurisdiction of Dubai, not the home of its flag of convenience. This is in keeping with the international principles of maritime law.’
He added: ‘Talk of a successful appeal in the Marshall Islands next year is as fanciful as claims by Tatiana’s lawyers about hiring SBS-trained operatives to enter Dubai and seize the Luna. Luna is off the table.’
Ms Akhmedova’s spokesman insisted that the decision on the Luna had merely been deferred by the Marshall Islands Court and that another hearing would take place next year.
He said: ‘This is a smokescreen, twisting the words of the High Court to give the appearance that Tatiana’s existing rights in the Luna have changed. No honest person could deny that under the current state of affairs, the Luna is subject to an immediate transfer of title without further objection from Farkhad Akhmedov.
‘We will enact the turnover order at a time and place of our choosing and have complete confidence that the Maritime Administrator will comply when it is served with the turnover order.’
Two weeks ago, Tatiana’s representatives announced that a court in the Marshall Islands, had issued an order giving them the right to seize the super yacht (above) from Mr Akhmedov
But in a dramatic turnaround, the same court ruled it had no power to enforce the order because only a court in Dubai, where the Luna is docked, could enforce a change of ownership
As the legal wrangle between the warring former couple goes on, the Luna will stay in Dubai
Mr Akhmedov’s spokesman told MailOnine that an earlier offer made by him to his ex-wife for an £81 million cash payment for their divorce settlement still stands.
Ms Akhmedova is backed by Burford Capital, a litigation finance firm that will take a slice of her pay out if she succeeds in recovering her full divorce settlement.
The high-profile divorce saga is being played out in courts in five different countries and has ripped apart the family, amid accusations of affairs and other sensational allegations.
In April, Ms Akhmedova sued her son Temur, 27, at London’s High Court claiming that he acted as his father’s ‘lieutenant’ and helped him hide millions of pounds so that she would not receive her divorce settlement.
She claimed that he either received vast sums himself or assisted Mr Akhmedov in placing them in a series of offshore trusts.
Following a two-week hearing, a judge ordered Temur to pay £75 million to his mother.
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.’
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