A rare insight into the extraordinary world of the global elite will be granted to observers this week as an argument about paying up on the most expensive divorce in history is thrashed out in a British courtroom.
Tatiana Akhmedova was due in court Monday to face her British-born son, accusing him of helping her ex-husband, Farkhad Akhmedov, hide hundreds of millions of dollars in assets in order to avoid paying her a massive $600 million divorce settlement awarded to her by Britain’s high court in 2016.
Akhmedov has refused to pay, saying he divorced his wife 20 years earlier in Russia.
Despite this claim being roundly dismissed by British courts, Akhmedov’s global lifestyle and coterie of lawyers pursuing legal action in multiple jurisdictions has made the order impossible to enforce; Akhmedova claims she has so far received only $7 million and a rusty helicopter.
In a bitter twist, Akhmedova is now accusing their son, Temur, 27, of conspiring with her ex-husband to hide his assets, and mother and son are due to confront each other in the High Court this week.
In a series of interviews this weekend ahead of the case, Temur lifted the lid on his lavish lifestyle, revealing that he was given a £30 million ($40 million) apartment in Central London’s most expensive development, One Hyde Park, for his 19th birthday.
The apartment, Akhmedova alleges, is one of her husband’s schemes to put his money beyond her reach. Temur denied that in an interview with the Mail on Sunday this weekend, insisting his mother was fully on board with the purchase and “even helped with the design.”
He added: “My father was just being a good dad, looking after his children. He wanted to make sure we were settled and safe.
“I don’t want to sound spoiled or anything but it’s like when people give their children a couple of grand for their birthday or whatever.
“It’s a lot of money. But in our world you give someone a million and an apartment—it’s the same idea just different amounts.
“This is a rich family, the numbers are different. As much as it sounds crazy, this is our world.
“That’s just the way it is. If my dad wanted to hide money from her, why would he buy me an apartment in London? It’s bananas. She knew all about it, just as she knew about the transfer of money.”
In another interview with The Guardian, Temur bemoaned a court order capping his spending at £3,000 ($4,000) per week saying: “Now maybe for the average person that seems like a fucking crazy amount but in reality it’s different.”
In a telephone interview with the Guardian from Dubai, Temur said of the freezing order: “I sent her a text. I said ‘Why the fuck are you doing this?’”
Akhmedova has in recent weeks won court orders to raid her son’s luxury apartment to search for evidence, and successfully forced Google to hand over the contents of his emails.
Temur, a commodities trader, told the Guardian: “Our mother raised us very well, she was a good mother,” he said. “But this claim is because she doesn’t like me because I didn’t stick on her side. I couldn’t imagine in a million years going against my own blood. She is just out for revenge. How can you give birth to your kids and then fight against them in court?”
Temur’s mother’s legal action is, controversially, being funded by litigation financier Burford Capital, which will take a slice of any winnings.
The Times claims that the couple are estimated to have spent £50m ($65 million) in legal costs so far. They have proceedings in no fewer than six jurisdictions around the world, including the Marshall Islands (where the yacht is registered), Liechtenstein (home to the family trust that owns the yacht and a £100 million art collection including paintings by Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, and Yves Klein), Russia, and the United States.
Akhmedov was one of many Russian industrialists who made vast fortunes after the collapse of the Soviet Union through a gas company he owned. In 2012, he sold his stake in the company for $1.375 billion.
Akhmedova claims that after a separation in 2000 they were reconciled, and that when she filed for divorce in the U.K. she was a British citizen.