A Sharia court in Dubai has ignored an order from the High Court that an oligarch must hand over a £350m yacht to his ex-wife as part of the UK’s biggest divorce settlement. Lawyers say the development further underlines the difficulty of enforcing UK divorce orders abroad.
A Dubai judge ruled that it was ‘dismissing the case and orders the claimant to pay expenses and attorney fees’.
The court decision this week is the latest development in a bitter divorce between Russian energy oligarch Farkhad Akhmedov and his ex-wife Tatiana, whose representatives had successfully obtained a freezing order to detain the 115-metre yacht in Dubai.
Henry Hood, a partner at Hunters Solicitors, said: ‘This latest step in the Ms Akhmedova’s attempt to enforce the English order may be a bit of a setback for her. It seems however that not all legal options in Dubai have yet been exhausted.
‘Even if they are, with the appeal court in Moscow rejecting the husband’s main contention that they were divorced years ago, there are likely to be other opportunities for Haddon-Cave J’s excoriating judgments to be enforced, and the spectator value of the case will continue for a while yet.’
But Alex Carruthers, partner at Hughes Fowler Carruthers, said: ‘The latest saga in this long running case shows how difficult it can be to enforce English divorce orders around the world. The order may only end up being a symbolic piece of paper with little use in extracting further cash from the ex-spouse.’
In December Haddon-Cave ordered Akhmedov, now 62, to pay Akhmedova a 41.5% share of his £1bn-plus fortune.