“Not more expensive than toilet paper,” billionaire Farhad Akhmedov emotionally responded to the decision of the High Court of London, which ordered the former co-owner of Northgas to pay ex-wife Tatyana £ 453 million (almost $ 584 million at that time). This compensation was a record in the history of British divorce justice. But Akhmedov refused payments. He motivated the decision by the fact that he is not a British citizen, but at the same time promised that the lawyers of his ex-wife “will be tormented by swallowing dust in the courts”.
And the prophecy of the billionaire comes true. Akhmedova in courts around the world is trying to get payments from the ex-spouse, but so far she has managed to get just £ 5 million. "Not even enough for a bunch of chips," lawyer Graham Brody, who represents interests, quipped during a June 12 court hearing two trusts in Liechtenstein, where part of Akhmedov’s assets is located. Brody was quoted by the Daily Mail tabloid.
Recently, a new participant has appeared in the divorce proceeding since 2013, the 26-year-old son of Farhad and Tatyana Temur. The mother filed a lawsuit against him. Forbes got acquainted with the materials of the High Court of London, which describes the essence of Tatyana's claims to her son.
The basis of Akhmedov’s fortune, according to the materials of the High Court of London, is the 115-meter Luna superyacht, which the businessman bought in 2014 from Roman Abramovich F 10 for € 260 million (about $ 300 million), a collection of contemporary art valued at $ 145.2 million, and also cash and securities worth about $ 650 million.
In December 2016, the court ordered Akhmedov to transfer Tatiana's art objects for £ 90 million and pay £ 350 million ($ 451 million at that time). The businessman publicly refused. Then the court authorized the arrest of Luna. As a result, the yacht stood on a dock for two years in Dubai, until in February 2020 the local court of appeal refused Akhmedova to enforce the London decision because it “contradicts Sharia law”.
What about the rest of Akhmedov’s assets? In November 2016, a month before the decision of the London court, the ex-co-owner of Northgas transferred a collection of contemporary art from a trust in Bermuda to another trust registered in Liechtenstein. A similar fate befell the financial assets that were originally on the account of the Swiss company Akhmedov Cotor Investment with UBS.
According to the Daily Mail, the lawyer of trusts at the last court session said that the transfer of assets could have two goals - to hide them from the "Russian mafia" or to protect from the claims of Akhmedova. The latter, according to the lawyer, "will have to come to terms with this."
However, not all the assets of the Russian businessman went into trusts - some of them went to their son, Temur, who was Tatyana.
Tatyana Akhmedova accuses her son of helping his father hide part of his assets. The lawsuit says that Temur actually acted as the father’s lieutenant — he helped develop and implement schemes to remove values and financial instruments from jurisdictions, where his mother could recover these resources in her favor.
So, in 2015-2016, $ 60 million from Cotor Investment accounts in UBS were transferred to Temur's account with the same bank. By December 2016, when the High Court ruled on Akhmedova’s lawsuit against her ex-husband, their son transferred the money to LGT Bank in Liechtenstein. Then, according to the court materials, he “scattered” them in such a way that by January 2017 nothing was left on the account. Akhmedova’s lawsuit says that Temur continued to receive his father’s money - already from trusts in Liechtenstein. Since 2017, at least $ 25 million could be spent on this scheme, Tatyana suspects.
Akhmedov Jr. himself admitted that he received more than $ 106 million from his father and his companies. At the same time, he rejected the charge that any sums came from trusts in Liechtenstein. According to the heir to the ex-co-owner of Northgas, in 2013 his father promised him to allocate financing so that Temur could personally invest in financial markets. Tatiana claims that the true purpose of giving Temur assets worth more than $ 100 million was to protect these assets from alienation.
The fight for the mansion
Another claim of Akhmedova concerns a certain property in Moscow, which the former spouse passed to her son. The lawsuit says that in 2018, when Akhmedova was looking for ways to enforce a London court’s decision abroad, the Cypriot company of her ex-husband Sunningdale transferred her share in the ownership of the Solyanka Service company. We can talk about a two-story mansion of the XVII century at Solyanka, 9: in several decisions of the arbitration courts of Moscow, Solyanka Service was named its owner. Back in 2003, Northgas received part of this building from the Moscow government as a restorer.
In June 2018, Temur bought Solyanka Service from his father for 50 million rubles. He admitted that Akhmedov Sr. was the original owner of the property, but did not explain why he bought it “with an obvious discount to market value,” the court said. Temur also said that in the end he could not pay for the shares of the company, and the transaction was declared invalid. And already after Tatyana Akhmedova began to search for the assets of her ex-husband, Sunningdale unexpectedly filed lawsuits against the son of a billionaire demanding to return the papers of Solyanka Service, as well as impose interim measures on her.
According to Tatyana Akhmedova, the entire operation with the mansion is a conspiracy of her ex-husband and their son to remove the asset from the threat of alienation. There is another lawsuit filed by the arbitration courts related to the sale of Solyanka Service, this time to Farhad Akhmedov himself.
Temur filed two counterclaims in his defense in London. In one of them, he demanded that the mother be prohibited from paying for lawyers, since her trial is financed and controlled by a third party, the Burford Capital fund. Akhmedova really transferred the rights of claim to the fund in early 2018. In the second lawsuit, Temur demanded that the proceedings be made non-public, since some of the documents provided by the mother’s protection relate to his private life.
But at a meeting on June 12, Judge Quinnet Knowles decided to reject Temur's counterclaims for lack of reasonable grounds.