UK court orders Russian billionaire to hand over US$500 million yacht to his ex-wife in divorce fight

The yacht, currently in Dubai, is the second largest expedition yacht in the world and has an anti-missile system, a mini-submarine and a 20-metre swimming pool

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 2:45am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 8:32pm

A Russian billionaire has been ordered by a court in London to hand over a £350 million pound (US$500 million) superyacht to his wife as part of Britain’s biggest-ever divorce battle.

Justice Charles Haddon-Cave at the High Court ruled that Farkad Akhmedov, 62, had used evasive and underhanded tactics to keep the yacht beyond the reach of the English courts and avoid paying his wife, Tatiana Akhmedova, 41.

The court heard that the yacht, currently in Dubai, is the second largest expedition yacht in the world. It is fitted with an anti-missile system, has a mini-submarine attached and boasts a 20-metre swimming pool, the largest of any superyacht in the world.

The 377-foot Luna was bought by Akhmedov in 2014 from fellow Russian oligarch and Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich. 

Akhmedov sold Luna in December 2014 to an offshore company based in Panama.

But the judge said on Thursday that it was clear the company was a “mere cipher” of Akhmedov, and that the sale was a way of keeping the luxury asset out of his wife’s reach.

The couple married in 1989 and moved in 1993 to London, where Akhmedova raised their two sons.

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In 2016, the court awarded her £453 million pounds (US$644 million) because of her “equal contributions to the welfare of the ­family”. The figure, the largest sum ever awarded for a divorce settlement in Britain, made up 41.5 per cent of Akhmedov’s estimated £1.3 billion fortune.

Akhmedova says, however, that he has not paid the money. She was seeking an order preventing him from concealing assets.