Billionaire oligarch at center of UK’s biggest divorce has his £300m super yacht impounded in Dubai – after refusing to disclose details of vast fortune to High Court
A Russian oligarch at the centre of Britain’s costliest divorce has had his £300m super yacht seized after his former wife won a court order to seize his assets. Bailiffs acting for the High Court in London took control of the 115m yacht Luna owned by oil and gas tycoon Farkhad Akhmedov when it docked in Dubai.
The 50-man crew have not been allowed to leave the United Arab Emirates and are believed to be staying on the yacht since it was seized on Valentine’s Day. The Luna – which boasts the largest swimming pool on any of the world’s super yachts – is considered one of the prize assets of 61-year-old Akhmedov.
Two years ago his ex-wife Tatiana was awarded £453m by a divorce judge making the split the most expensive ever in Britain. Lawyers for Tatiana earlier this year complained that Akhmedov has failed to hand over the huge settlement leading to a judge to order his worldwide assets be frozen.
Agents acting for the High Court have been tracking the yacht, which was originally built by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovitch and sold to his friend Akhmedov three years ago, for several months.
A source in Dubai said: ‘The yacht was seized when it docked in Dubai and has remained there since February 14th. The crew have not been allowed to leave.’
Billionaire Akhmedov spent more than £50m on a refit for the vessel, which boasts nine decks and has two helipads as well as 10 VIP rooms.
Having been seized agents acting for the High Court will be able to sell the yacht if the businessman fails to meet the obligations of the divorce settlement.
His 41-year-old wife has already received the contents of the couple’s former family home in Surrey – worth almost £2.5 million – his £350,000 Aston Martin and the £90 million art collection.
Akhmedov was ordered to pay his ex a £350m lump sum from his £900m fortune. But, Mrs Akhmedova said she has ‘to date received nothing from the husband save for some de minimis assets in the UK.’
She had managed to lay her hands on ‘some sporting guns and a valuable motor car’ and her lawyers had ‘arrested’ his helicopter and plane. The tycoon has previously complained about British courts having jurisdiction over his marriage. He said he had received ‘no justice’ after his lawyer was forced to disclose full details of his multi-billion pound fortune.
Mr Akhmedov’s legal team are said to be ‘furious’ that the divorce hearing was held in an English court when both parties are Russian citizens who married in 1993, moved to the UK and whose marriage ended in 2000.
A source close to him said: ”The British courts should never have sought to interfere in a former marriage which took place in Russia, between two Russian citizens and which had long been dissolved in that country with generous provision for my ex-wife. In seeking a new settlement of that marriage both my ex-wife, for whose lavish lifestyle I have always provided, used the British courts in an opportunistic bid for financial gain.”
A legal source continued: ‘They’re upset that the High Court made it clear from the outset that it wasn’t interested in Russian family law or the decisions of Russian judges.’
A spokesman for Mr Akhmedov was uncontactable.