Court rules that Temur Akhmedov had worked with his father to help him avoid £453m settlement
The son of an oligarch caught up in the world’s largest divorce case has been told to pay £75m to his mother after a judge at the high court in London found he was “a dishonest individual who will do anything to assist his father”.
Temur Akhmedov was found to have worked together with his father, the billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov, to hide hundreds of millions of pounds of assets – including several mansions, a superyacht, a helicopter and an extensive art collection – in order to avoid paying a £453m divorce settlement.
“Temur has learned well from his father’s past conduct and has done and said all he could to prevent his mother receiving a penny of the matrimonial assets,” the judge, Gwynneth Knowles, said in a ruling on Wednesday. She ruled that he should pay his mother more than £75m.
Knowles compared the breakdown of relations in the Akhmedov family to Leo Tolstoy’s classic Russian novel Anna Karenina. “All happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” she said in her judgment. “With apologies to Tolstoy, the Akhmedov family is one of the unhappiest ever to have appeared in my courtroom.”
Temur was accused of acting as his oil tycoon father’s “lieutenant” in schemes to hide assets from his mother. The court had heard that his father gave him about $106m (£76m) of assets to invest in the financial markets. Temur shocked the judge by revealing during the trial that he had lost more than $50m in a single day of trading on the stock market while a student at the London School of Economics.
His father also gave him a £30m apartment in One Hyde Park, an exclusive London development, at the time of the divorce.
In the run-up to the trial Temur’s mother had secured a court order limiting his spending to £3,000 a week, which he had claimed did not leave him with enough money to live the lifestyle to which he had become accustomed.
“Now maybe for the average person that seems like a fucking crazy amount, but in reality it’s different,” he told the Guardian.
The court heard that Temur was the registered owner of a Rolls-Royce with a personalised number plate and also of a Tesla car.
Tatiana Akhmedova was awarded a 41.5% share of her ex-husband’s fortune by another British judge in 2016. When he only handed over about £5m, she launched further court action against Temur. Her case was backed by Burford Capital, a specialist litigation funder, which puts up money to fight cases in return for a share of any award.
Knowles said in her ruling that the father and son had created a “formidable smokescreen” to conceal assets, and that Akhmedova “has been the victim of a series of schemes designed to put every penny of the husband’s wealth beyond her reach”.
Akhmedova said her husband’s failure to pay her the original divorce settlement had “left a trail of destruction and pain in his wake”.
“He has driven a vendetta born from his lies, that set out to destroy not only myself but sadly to try and drive a wedge between a mother and son,” she said. “Fortunately that bond is unbreakable.
“As a father he has manipulated his parental responsibility, as a husband he has dishonoured the role of being a good father and instead has sought to destroy and drive his vindictive propaganda to manipulate, mock and utilise the courts in England and overseas.
“Today’s judgment is the inevitable conclusion given Farkhad’s failure to behave honourably in the first instance.”
Farkhad Akhmedov, who’s name appears on the US “Putin list” of officials and oligarchs close to the Kremlin, said: “Entirely predictably, given its original wrong and misguided judgment, the court has ruled in favour of visiting ‘the sins’ of the father on an innocent and loyal son.”
A spokesman for Temur Akhmedov said he fundamentally disagreed with the ruling, but that “he would consider it a price worth paying for should it lead to a reasonable settlement between the parents he both loves”.
He added that he “never sought to take sides or get involved but inevitably found himself sucked into the vortex of a bitter family dispute”.
The family fortune includes an extensive modern art collection including pieces by Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst which are held in a Liechtenstein facility called as the Stabiq Treasure House.
Akhmedova has also attempted to seize Akhmedov’s £300m superyacht, Luna, which was built for the Chelsea football club owner, Roman Abramovich and has 10 VIP cabins and a 20-metre swimming pool.