The son, the mother – and the importance of full financial disclosure
Back in 2016, a divorce court in London awarded Tatiana Akhmedova a settlement in her divorce from her Azerbaijani-born Russian oligarch husband Farkhad Akhmedov. At stake was, according to The Guardian:
“A fortune that includes several luxury mansions, a superyacht called Luna, a helicopter, a private jet and an art collection including pieces by Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst.”
A 41.3% settlement of £453m
At the time, the court ruled that Tatiana Akhmedova should receive a settlement of £453m, a 41.3% share of the family’s £1bn fortune. However, Tatiana said she had only received £5million. So in 2020, she sued her husband and her son, Temur, accusing them of trying to hide the true value of her ex-husband’s wealth.
From father to son
Tatiana and her legal team claimed that Farkhad Akhmedov had transferred considerable sums of money and valuable assets to his son, to try to avoid paying his ex-wife. This included a £30million apartment in the exclusive One Hyde Park development. In November 2020, Tatiana won court orders to raid her son’s apartment to look for evidence, and also to force Google to reveal the contents of Temur’s emails.
The High Court hearing this week heard that Farkhad had used a network of companies to hide his wealth, and had also:
“Transferred a superyacht, the Luna, worth around £340m, and an art collection worth around £110m into the ownership of trusts in Liechtenstein.”
Prior to the trial Temur had a worldwide freezing order on his assets, which also limited his spending to £3,000 a week. As he said in a reported telephone interview from Dubai:
“Now maybe for the average person that seems like a (expletive) crazy amount but in reality it’s different.”
(Clearly, oligarchs have a different reality to most of us.)
Time to pay up
On Weds 21 April 2021, High Court judge Mrs Justice Gwynneth Knowles ordered Farkhad Akhmedov to pay his ex-wife millions of pounds. She also ordered Tatiana’s eldest son to pay £75million to his mother, saying that:
“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.”
A desire to end the war between his parents
According to the BBC, a spokesman for Temur put a different point of view:
"Like millions of young people, Temur has been caught up in the break-up of his parents' marriage. He never sought to take sides or get involved but inevitably found himself sucked into the vortex of a bitter family dispute. His subsequent actions were only ever motivated by his desire to end the war between his parents."
Rather see the money burn
Given that Temur Akhmedov, 26, is a commodities futures trader in the City, he would have been aware of the implications of the actions he was taking. As Mrs Justice Knowles said:
“The wife has been the victim of a series of schemes designed to put every penny of the husband's wealth beyond her reach. Their eldest son, Temur, confirmed in his oral evidence that the husband would rather have seen the money burnt than for the wife to receive a penny of it.
Regrettably, those schemes were carried out with Temur's knowledge and active assistance. I reject his case that he was a mere go-between for his father: the evidence indicated otherwise … I find that he is a dishonest individual who will do anything to assist his father, no doubt because he is utterly dependent on his father for financial support.”
Full disclosure in divorce
It doesn’t matter what level of wealth or income you have, “Full and frank” disclosure of financial assets in a divorce case is not optional. It is a legal requirement that both of you must disclose all your assets and liabilities to each other, in order to reach a fair settlement.
In our experience, full and frank disclosure is even more important in cases involving genuine need. It ensures you and your family are not ‘short-changed’ now and into the future by your financial settlement.
The kind of family collusion seen in the Akhmedov family, with father and son pitted against wife/mother, breeds deep mistrust. The hurt and long-term resentment that it creates will make future co-parenting and co-operation so much more difficult.
For more on full disclosure, see our blog:
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