Dubai's Highest Court Rejects Superyacht Seizure Appeal in Mammoth Divorce Battle
Dubai’s highest court has rejected an appeal by the ex-wife of a Russian billionaire to seize a £350 million ($460 million) superyacht in one of the world’s costliest divorce battles, a court ruling last week said.
The Dubai Court of Cassation rejected an appeal by Tatiana Akhmedova, ex-wife of oil and gas billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov, to seize the yacht as part of a 453 million pound divorce bill imposed by London’s High Court.
The vessel, the M.V. Luna, was built for Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich before Akhmedov bought it in 2014. It has at least nine decks, space for 50 crew, two helipads, a vast swimming pool and a mini submarine.
The yacht is at the center of one of the largest divorce settlements in legal history. London’s High Court in 2016 ordered Akhmedov to pay about 40% of his fortune to former wife Akhmedova.
But Akhmedov failed to pay and the London court granted a worldwide freezing order, under which the Luna was impounded in Dubai in 2018.
This appeals process has ended in Dubai, but the battle for control of the yacht continues in the Marshall Islands, whose flag the ship sails under, and regarding the Liechtenstein entity which owns the yacht, publicly available British and Marshall Islands court documents show.
The Dubai Court of Cassation upheld a previous Dubai court ruling that London’s 453 million pound divorce bill payout is unenforceable in Dubai, English and Arabic copies of the Aug. 13 Cassation ruling provided to Reuters by Akhmedov’s spokesman show.
The spokesman said the court upheld that the London ruling is “contrary to Islamic sharia, United Arab Emirates personal status law and public policy, and is therefore unenforceable in Dubai”.
Forbes has estimated Akhmedov’s net worth around $1.4 billion. The U.S. Treasury Department has put him on a list of sanctioned Russian state-owned companies and so-called “oligarchs”, identified as close to President Vladimir Putin.
Akhmedova is represented by London-listed litigation funder Burford Capital. Burford declined to comment on the development.
(Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Additional reporting by Yousef Saba; Editing by Nick Macfie)