Thursday, 11 May 2017

British wife wins £453m in court divorce battle with ex-trader husband




A former London oil and gas trader has been ordered to pay his estranged wife £453m in a divorce settlement by a High Court judge.
 
The 61-year-old man, from the Caucasus, built up a fortune in the Russian energy business.


The sum awarded to his 44-year-old spouse amounts to 41.5% of their "total marital assets".


She had contended the "total net marital wealth" was just over £1bn and had been built up during a long marriage through "equal contributions to the welfare of the family".


Her husband argued he had made a "special contribution" towards the family wealth, but decided two weeks before a trial to "no longer contest proceedings", the reasons for which were "unclear", said the presiding judge.


Such family hearings are usually conducted in private, but it is thought the award could be the biggest made by a UK divorce court judge.


In 2014, Jamie Cooper-Hohn, wife of financier Sir Chris Hohn, was awarded more than £330m.


Three years earlier, Galinan Besharova, the former wife of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, agreed to accept between £165m and £220m in a settlement.
 
 
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave did not name the pair - who were not in court for Thursday's ruling - during the proceedings in the Family Division of the central London court.


The judge said the couple met in 1989 while the woman, from eastern Europe, was studying in Moscow.


They married four years later and went on to have two children.


The couple moved to London in 1993 and had lived together in Surrey, he said.


Nearly five years ago the man had sold shares in a Russian company for $1.3bn (£1bn).


A year later he bought his children flats in a luxury London development costing £29m and £7.2m.


The court heard both had been given indefinite leave to stay in the UK, and the woman became a British citizen more than 15 years ago.




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