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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Dispute over $500m superyacht at centre of UK's costliest divorce heard at Dubai court

Decision over rightful ownership of oligarch's luxury vessel is still to be made

The luxury yacht, Luna, is at the centre of the most expensive divorce settlement in UK legal history. Getty 
The luxury yacht, Luna, is at the centre of the most expensive divorce settlement in UK legal history. Getty 

A final decision over the disputed ownership of a $500 million (Dh1.8bn) superyacht at the centre of the UK's biggest ever divorce settlement is still to be made, after a court hearing was held in Dubai on Sunday.

A freezing order imposed by the London High Court has been placed on the 115-metre yacht Luna under the terms of the divorce settlement between Russian oil tycoon Farkhad Akhmedov and his ex-wife, Tatiana Akhmedov.

Dubai's Sharia court has rescheduled a hearing over the vessel's ownership to August 26.

The yacht, which boasts a spa, swimming pool and two helipads, has been held in the dry dock at Port Rashid since February because of the legal dispute.

It was, however, allowed to leave Dubai's dry dock and move into the open waters of the emirate's Prince Rashid Harbour on Friday evening.

Passports belonging to the 50-member, mainly British, crew were also returned this week following the intervention of the British embassy in Dubai.

Mr Akhmedov, an oil and gas trader, is arguing against an English court judgment granting his wife ownership of the yacht under the terms of an earlier divorce settlement, worth more than $600m.

The legal proceedings were taking place at DIFC courts, but were removed to Dubai’s Sharia court to be dealt with as a matrimonial matter.

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Read more:

Dubai court to hear dispute over oligarch's $500m superyacht tied up in UK's costliest divorce

Dubai court hears Russian oligarch's battle to save luxury yacht

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The yacht is secured in a family trust fund called Straight Establishment, making it difficult for lawyers to determine who the legal owners are.

Mr Akhmedov purchased the vessel from Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich in 2014. It is the 23rd largest luxury yacht in the world.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the oligarch, who is believed to have links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, argue a London court order cannot be applied in Dubai.

In May, an argument at the DIFC Courts disputed the jurisdiction of the emirate’s international commercial court.

DIFC Courts upheld the freezing order imposed by the London High Court in a judgment in March, but in April, Mr Akhmedov won the right to appeal.

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