Dubai: A Dubai Court judge has rejected a claim by the ex-wife of a Russian billionaire to seize his $540-million yacht ‘Luna’ to sell off the asset as part of the highest divorce settlement in British history.
On Wednesday, in a verdict obtained by Gulf News, Dubai Court ruled that it was “dismissing the case and orders the claimant to pay the expenses and Dh1,000 as attorney fees.”
The court decision is the latest exchange in a bitter divorce between Russian oil and gas tycoon Farkhad Akhmedov and his ex-wife Tatiana Akhmedova whose agents successfully won a freezing order in February to temporarily detain the 115-metre expedition yacht at Port Rashid in Dubai.
The detention of the vessel stemmed from a December 2016 order when Tatiana Akhmedova was awarded a $641-million (Dh2,352 million) divorce settlement by the British courts against her ex-husband, based on which Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) Courts issued the temporary freezing order to help her recoup the award.
Tatiana’s lawyers contended earlier this year that she had yet to receive proceeds from the divorce settlement and parties working on her behalf were combing the globe for her husband’s assets.
In May, DIFC Court ruled it did not have jurisdiction over the matter and it landed in Dubai Court with yacht owners, Straight Establishment – the Akhmedov family trust – arguing for the Luna’s release.
In a statement provided to Gulf News, a spokesperson for Akhmedov said: “Today’s decision paves the way for the release of Luna, one of the world’s most luxurious superyachts. She previously belonged to Roman Abramovich and, with a value in excess of £300 million, is one of the jewels in the crown of the Akhmedov family trust.”
Referring to Farkhad, the spokesperson said, “He believes the attempts by Tatiana and her team to tie down family assets around the world are as misguided as the original English High Court was in granting Tatiana a second divorce 16 years after their marriage was validly dissolved in Russia.
“He believes it is a massive gamble which Tatiana and her backers simply cannot win, and is reassured that the wise judges of Dubai’s local courts have seen Tatiana’s cynical claims for what they are.”
Tatiana’s legal team in London told Gulf News in a statement following the court decision that “Both the significance and the substance of the Dubai Court of First Instance’s ruling are yet to be determined. All that has been handed down at this stage is the decision. Until we have the full judgement together with reasons, we are unable to comment any further.”
“Once published, Ms Akhmedova’s lawyers look forward to the opportunity to scrutinise the court’s reasoning and to consider any grounds for appeal. For now, nothing material will change and importantly MV Luna will remain in Port Rashid under arrest,” said the Tatiana spokesperson.
With nine decks, two helipads, 10 VIP rooms and one of the world’s largest swimming pools on a superyacht, Luna is one of the largest and most expensive private vessels on the planet.