01 May Who Gets The $637 Million Superyacht?
Principal of Justice Family Lawyers, Hayder specialises in complex parenting and property family law matters. He is based in Sydney and holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Communications from UTS.
The seizure of a $637 million superyacht is part of an absurdly expensive divorce in London.
The yacht MV Luna is set to change hands from husband to wife in the divorce settlement with the highest stakes the United Kingdom has ever seen.
Farkhad Akhmedov, 62, is a Russian oligarch with over two billion dollars to his name.
One of his most magnificent assets is the nine-deck, 115-metre- long superyacht Luna.
This boat, one of the world’s biggest and grandest superyachts, will become the property of his ex-wife Tatiana Akhmedova due to orders made by the court.
Judge Charles Haddon-Cave of the High Court in London has ordered that Ms Akhmedova receive 41 percent of her former husband’s assets.
Ms Akhmedova is therefore set to gain approximately 453 million pounds (AU$825 million).
Mr Akhmedov’s fortune is worth an estimated 1.3 billion pounds (AU$2.37 billion).
The MV Luna, the second-largest expedition yacht in the world, is currently impounded in a dry dock in Dubai.
Mr Akhmedov sold it in December 2014, the same year he and his wife filed for this expensive divorce, to an offshore company based in Panama.
However, the court found that this was merely an attempt to conceal his assets.
The luxury superyacht has a 20-metre outdoor swimming pool, a mini-submarine, 50 crew members, two helipads and an anti-missile system.
Mr Akhmedov bought the yacht in 2014 from Roman Abramovich, a fellow Russian oligarch who owns the UK’s Chelsea football club.
This is not the only asset Mr Akhmedov has attempted to keep out of his ex-wife’s reach.
Ms Akhmedova alleges that he has moved his 90.5-million- pound (AU$165 million) modern art collection to Lichtenstein.
Since the expensive divorce settlement began in late 2014 Mr Akhmedov has made a great effort to conceal his wealth and avoid payment.
Judge Haddon-Cave said the order to hand over the superyacht must therefore be enforced quickly.
Farkhad Akhmedov and Tatiana Akhmedova met in 1989 and married in 1993 in Russia.
They moved to London, where Ms Akhmedova raised their two sons.
Ms Akhmedova continues to live in London.
The marriage ended in 2014, and Ms Akhmedova filed for divorce in the UK.
The judge ordered the 41% payment in 2016, but Mr Akhmedov has so far largely failed to comply.
Businessmen, bankers and other financial professionals like himself often feature in the highest-stakes expensive divorce cases in the UK.
London courts have a reputation for being better places to arrange divorce settlements involving immense wealth.
There is generally a fairer division of assets, as judges recognise the value of homemaking as equal to the value of earning money for a family.
Mr Akhmedov remains very reluctant to transfer ownership of his yacht.
He says he has supported his wife since their relationship ended and has drawn parallels between his situation and the bad relations between the British government and the President of Russia Vladimir Putin.
He also argues that any transfer of ownership would entail a long legal procedure and that the Luna’s value may have depreciated by the time any arrangement was finalised