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Thu 28 Mar 2019 10:55 AM

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Dubai Courts lifts freezing order on Russian billionaire's $500m superyacht

Farkhad Akhmedov has won the appeal in Britain's biggest divorce case to retain ownership of the 115-metre yacht Luna held at Port Rashid

Dubai Courts lifts freezing order on Russian billionaire's $500m superyacht
The 115-metre yacht Luna, which is owned by Akhmedov’s family trust

Wednesday marked a significant win for Russian oil tycoon Farkhad Akhmedov as Dubai Courts lifted a freezing order on his $500 million (AED1.8 billion) superyacht, which was seized in Dubai as part of his legal and widely publicised dispute with former wife Tatiana Akhmedov.

The 115-metre yacht Luna, which is owned by Akhmedov’s family trust, was the main contention in what is believed to be Britain’s biggest divorce case.

A spokesperson for Akhmedov told Arabian Business, “Big win for Farkhad Akhmedov today in Dubai. Arrest warrant on £350m superyacht Luna lifted.

“Mr Akhmedov is delighted but not surprised by today’s court decision in favour of the Akhmedov family trust… Luna is one of the assets of a family trust which was set up for the benefit of all his family and dependants, and he isconfident that no court anywhere in the world will endorse Tatiana’s unlawful attempts to take it away from them,” the spokesperson added.

The judgement also requires Akhmedov’s ex-wife to pay all of his and the family trust’s legal costs.

Divorce settlement

The vessel had been held at Port Rashid since February and was purchased by Akhmedov from Chelsea football club owner and billionaire Roman Abramovich in 2014. It is believed to be the world’s 23rd largest luxury yacht, boasting a 50-person crew, spa, swimming pool and two helipads.

Akhmedov last year refused to pay his ex-wife a $600m divorce settlement imposed by a UK court, which also ordered him to buy her another house in London and grant her $36m to purchase a property on the French Riviera. The settlement will see him pay her $6.3m per year for life. His refusal to pay led the court to place a worldwide freezing order on all his assets, including the yacht.

The lifting of the freezing order on Luna comes following multiple appeals by Akhmedov to retain ownership, after Dubai Courts upheld the order imposed by the London High Court to transfer the yacht’s ownership to Tatiana, a dual citizen.

Lawyers of Akhmedov argued that the London order cannot be imposed in the UAE, while a spokesperson for Akhmedov’s ex-wife said at the time that it is “only a matter of time” before ownership of the yacht is handed over and sold swiftly to one of “many potential buyers”.

However, a spokesperson for Akhmedov told Arabian Business the claims are “pure fantasy”.

“Claims that the Luna will shortly be available for Tatiana’s lawyers and debt collectors to sell as a result of last week’s interim court ruling are pure fantasy. For that to happen would take years before the Dubai full legal processes are exhausted,” he said.

The matrimonial award has also been enforced against a number of Akhmedov’s assets, including a modern art collection valued at $114m, English property worth $3million, Aston Martin car valued at $440,000 and more including a private jet.

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