The opening day of a trial, in which the former wife of a Russian billionaire has accused their son of helping his father to hide assets in one of Europe’s biggest ever divorce battles, has laid bare the lifestyle of the super-rich.
The High Court heard that Temur Akhmedov, 27, who is being sued by his mother Tatiana, was given a £29m London flat when he was just 19 and lost $50m in day trading whilst still a university student.
Ms Akhmedova who is fighting to get £453m owed by her ex-husband from a 2016 High Court divorce settlement is seeking nearly £70m from Temur, who contests the claim.
The case had been due to start last Wednesday but was adjourned after Temur flew to Moscow instead of attending the High Court, appearing via video link telling the judge that he had become scared and stressed. He was ordered to return to London by Mrs Justice Knowles and appeared in court on Monday.
London has become known as the “divorce capital of the world” because of the generosity of the settlements awarded by judges to financially weaker spouses, often ex-wives.
In her evidence to the court, Ms Akhmedova claimed her eldest son Temur acted as “lieutenant” for her ex-husband and billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov, whom she claims has hidden assets from her.
Ms Akhmedov was awarded a 41.5 per cent slice of Mr Akhmedov’s £1bn fortune in late 2016. Since then she has been seeking to enforce the £453m award by the English courts in a number of legal battles around the world, involving assets that include a superyacht named Luna, a helicopter and a private art collection.
Mr Akhmedov has refused to pay the settlement claiming it was superseded by their divorce in Moscow 20 years earlier.
In her evidence, Ms Akhmedova confirmed that her son Temur had been given a London flat worth about £29m when he was just 19 and had also received a Mercedes car when he was just 17 years old.
In his opening written arguments, Robert Levy QC acting for Temur, said the claims Farkhad had put the bulk of his fortune beyond the reach of his former wife did not mean that the wealth Temur had been gifted by his father were “part of the same alleged scheme”.
Mr Levy argued: “That the sums were astronomical is nothing to the point. Some of the extremely rich lavish their children with unimaginable sums. That is what Farkhad and Tatiana did during their marriage; Farkhad continued it towards the end of the marriage and thereafter.”
Mr Levy also claimed in his written arguments that Temur had lost $50m in trading stocks and shares whilst he was a student studying private banking at the London School of Economics.
The case continues.