Saudi billionare loses right to immunity in $6bn divorce case

Sheikh Walid Juffali, chairman of one of the kingdom’s largest family firms, E A Juffali and Brothers, is facing a claim on his estimated $6bn fortune from his ex-wife Christina Estrada
By Staff writer
Tue 09 Feb 2016 11:23 AM

One of Saudi Arabia’s richest men is facing a potentially costly court case after his claim to diplomatic immunity was thrown out by a UK court.

Sheikh Walid Juffali, chairman of one of the kingdom’s largest family firms, E A Juffali and Brothers, is facing a claim on his estimated $6 billion fortune from his ex-wife Christina Estrada, a former model. The couple were married for 13 years.

Juffali had claimed that the case could not be heard in London due to his position as permanent representative to the International Maritime Organisation for the Caribbean island of St Lucia. He took the role in 2014.

A judge at the High Court in London called the claim spurious, saying that he was satisfied that Juffali had obtained the St Lucia position “with the sole intention of defeating claims consequent on the breakdown of their marriage”, the Times reported.

Juffali reportedly initiated a Muslim talaq divorce from Estrada last year, by saying “I divorce you” three times while in Saudi Arabia.

American-born Estrada, a long-time friend of the UK’s Prince Andrew, subsequently launched proceedings in the UK High Court to acquire a share of Juffali’s fortune.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.