Award represents 41.5% of matrimonial assets
The East European former wife of an oil and gas trader, born in the Caucasus, has been awarded £453 million in financial remedy proceedings against her former husband. It is thought to be one of the largest divorce awards in the UK.
The couple in the case have not been named. The wife was represented and The husband was not represented, did not appear in person at any hearing but attended the final hearing by video-link from his yacht in the Caribbean.
The husband is 61 and the wife is 44. They married in Moscow in July 1993 when the wife was pregnant with the elder son. In that year they moved to London. In 1996 a second son was born. In 2012 the husband sold shares in a Russian company for US$1.375 billion.
There were also joined in the proceedings C Ltd, a Cypriot-registered company and the trustee of a Bermudian Discretionary Trust of which the husband was the sole director, and P Ltd, a Panamanian company which H contended was within the Trust. P Ltd was said to hold the bulk of the wealth in this case.
The wife has been a ‘hands on’ mother and housewife throughout the marriage.
The wife contended that the total net marital wealth in the case was £1.092 billion, that the entire wealth was matrimonial in character and should be subject to the sharing principle. The non-appearance of the husband and the 2nd and 3rd respondents at the trial meant that the court did not have the benefit of hearing any evidence or submissions from them.
Haddon-Cave J accepted the wife’s estimate of the total wealth in the case, was entirely matrimonial in character and should be subject to the sharing principle. He saw no reason in principle why there should not be an equal 50:50 division of the total marital assets.
The wife had originally made an open offer under FPR 2010 of a payment of a lump sum of £350 million. This represented 33% of the marital assets. In breach of the rules, the husband did not himself make an open offer.
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The judgment is here.