The most expensive – and acrimonious – family breakdown in history will be laid bare in a London court next week in a divorce battle over a £453m fortune that includes several luxury mansions, a superyacht called Luna, a helicopter, a private jet and an art collection including pieces by Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst.
Tatiana Akhmedova will accuse her ex-husband, Farkhad Akhmedov, an oligarch and ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and their son Temur Akhmedov of hiding hundreds of millions in assets in order to avoid paying the blockbuster settlement awarded to her by the high court in 2016.
Akhmedova alleges that her Azerbaijani-born Russian husband transferred cash and assets to their son in order to avoid paying her the money. They deny the claims and say she was aware of the father-to-son gifts, which included a £30m apartment in One Hyde Park, the exclusive London development, at the time. On Monday she will take her son to the high court accusing him of acting “as his father’s lieutenant” in a scheme to hide the fortune.
In her quest to uncover the award Akhmedova has in the past two weeks won court orders to raid her son’s luxury apartment in the opulent Knightsbridge development to search for evidence, and to force Google to hand over the contents of his emails.
Speaking publicly for the first time her son, Temur, 27, said that no matter what happens in court he would “never be reconciled with her” because “her outrageous, revengeful behaviour” has destroyed their once close relationship.
The search of flat and associated wine cellar led to the seizure of 58 devices, 47 of which were said to belong to Temur. He said the devices included four Xboxes and a PlayStation console.
“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?”
Ahead of the trial Temur was served with a worldwide freezing order preventing him from transferring funds or selling any assets. He said the order limited his spending to £3,000 a week. “Now maybe for the average person that seems like a fucking crazy amount but in reality it’s different,” he said in a telephone interview from Dubai.
Temur said of the freezing order: “I sent her [his mother] a text, I said ‘why the fuck are you doing this?’”
He claimed his mother was not entitled to the £453m from his father’s fortune she was awarded by a London court in 2016, because his parents divorced 20 years earlier after his mother had an affair with a younger man.
He said his father offered his mother £100m to formalise the split, but his mother filed for divorce in London and a judge awarded her a 41.5% share of the £1bn family fortune.
“If my mother was on the street I would totally understand,” Temur said. “I would never let that happen, but she lives a very good life. She’s always on holiday always travelling. I see her updates on WhatsApp, she was in Ibiza a few weeks ago and Italy.”
The allegation that they previously divorced was dismissed by the family court in 2016. It was also later reported that this finding was challenged by the father in the Russian courts, which reinforced the English court’s ruling.
Akhmedova has tried since 2016 to enforce the judgment. The settlement remains the highest award in UK history and remains unsatisfied despite consistent enforcement attempts made in various jurisdictions.
A source close to Akhemdova’s legal team said Temur had acted “as his father’s lieutenant” in executing schemes to avoid paying her the divorce settlement. He denies this.
“This trial has come about because, in the four years since Tatiana Akhmedova was awarded the £453m divorce settlement, no money has voluntarily been paid to her,” the source said. “This has led to extensive enforcement efforts against Farkhad Akhmedov’s assets and an investigation of the various methods employed by Farkhad to place assets beyond Tatiana’s reach.
“Tatiana brought claims against her son Temur Akhmedov, alleging that he had received substantial financial sums and assets from Farkhad in order to put them beyond his mother’s reach and in order to frustrate the enforcement of the divorce award. Tatiana contends that Temur played a key role – essentially as his father’s lieutenant – in Farkhad’s strategy of evasion by devising and executing the schemes.”
Temur’s mother’s legal team, which is being funded by litigation financier Burford Capital, had at one stage attempted to seize Akhmedov’s £300m superyacht. The yacht called Luna, which had been built for Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, has 10 VIP cabins and a 20-metre swimming pool.
Farkhad Akhmedov has previously said he will make all efforts to overturn what he has always said was “a misguided and wrong judgment by the English high court”.