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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 August 2018

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

The world's 23rd largest luxurious yacht is central to a Russian oil tycoon's divorce payout

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 

The latest round of a bitter legal dispute involving a $500 million (Dh1.8 billion) superyacht that is the main contention of a divorce case is due to be heard 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 wife Tatiana Akhmedov.

The hearing, which will appeal to uphold the freezing order by Dubai courts, is part of one of the UK’s biggest divorce cases and, is also said to be the costliest.

The vessel, that contains a spa, swimming pool and two helipads, has been held in the dry dock at Port Rashid since February because of the dispute.

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 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.

Mr Akhmedov and his ex-wife divorced in Moscow in 2000.

In May, an argument at the Dubai International Financial Centre 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.

Since the judgement, Luna’s 50 crew members caught up in the dispute have had their passports returned following an intervention from Nautilus International, an independent trade union representing workers at sea.

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Read more:

Dubai courts maintain freezing order on Russian oil tycoon's superyacht

Matrimonial battle over $540m Russian superyacht puts DIFC Courts in spotlight

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