Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 7 December 2019

Dubai superyacht row: Russian oligarch forced to sell $5 million helicopter in divorce settlement

The Dubai-anchored 'Luna' could be next as lawyers step up pressure in Farkhad Akhmedov divorce case

Tatiana Akhmedova is at the centre of the UK’s largest divorce award involving a Russian oligarch whose superyacht has been held in Dubai.Rick Findler / PA via AP
Tatiana Akhmedova is at the centre of the UK’s largest divorce award involving a Russian oligarch whose superyacht has been held in Dubai.Rick Findler / PA via AP

A Russian oligarch whose superyacht is impounded in a Dubai harbour was forced to sell a $5 million (Dh18.3 million) helicopter and give the cash to his wife as Britain's biggest ever divorce case continues.

Oil and gas tycoon Farkhad Akhmedov refused to give up the $500m (Dh1.8 billion) yacht Luna, which is at the centre of a legal battle with his former wife Tatiana.

It remains at Port Rashid until lawyers can break the deadlock.

Cash raised from the sale of the Eurocopter EC155, registered as M-LVNA Fairoaks and formerly owned by Mr Akhmedov, was described by lawyers representing his former wife as the first financial return in an initial Dh2.04bn settlement granted by the High Court of London in 2016.

Mr Akhmedov refused to recognise the court’s decision, claiming it does not have jurisdiction in Dubai.

Legal action has also been enforced against a number of Mr Akhmedov’s other assets, including a private jet.

BODRUM, MUGLA - AUGUST 06: 115 meters luxury explorer yatch "Luna", owned by Azarbaijani businessman Farkhad Akhmedov, drops anchor off in Bodrum district of Mugla on August 06, 2014. Luna is the world's largest expedition yacht which was purchased by Frakhad Akhmedov from Roman Abramovich for $360m U.S. dollars in April 2014. Luna has 20 metre outdoor swimming pool, 9 decks and a large outdoor entertaining area. (Photo by Mustafa Ciftci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
The Luna superyacht pictured with a Eurocopter on its top helipad deck. Getty Images

“The sale of this helicopter proves our enforcement methods are not just working but bearing fruit,” said Ms Akhmedova’s lawyer, Jonathan Wild.

“The net has been closing on Mr Akhmedov for a while now. We have a long way to go until the full judgment debt is satisfied but we move closer to seizing and beginning to liquidate the remaining assets every day.”

Azerbaijan-born Russian national Mr Akhmedov, who has an estimated wealth of $1.4bn (Dh5.1bn), is petitioning against the high court’s decision to grant his former wife ownership of the 115-metre yacht.

Luna has been docked at Port Rashid since February, awaiting a final outcome from the UK decision, that has so far not been recognised by Sharia courts in the UAE.

The luxury boat, formally owned by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, is central to Ms Akhmedova’s legal team. It is the 23rd largest yacht in the world, with an on-board swimming pool, spa and two helipads.

In November, Dubai’s Sharia Court ruled against upholding freeze on Mr Akhmedov’s assets, including the yacht, with Ms Akhmedova ordered to pay her ex-husband’s legal fees as part of the verdict.

Her lawyers said the helicopter was seized in 2017, shortly after landing at an airport near Bodrum in Turkey before it was moved to Greece, and then the Isle of Man.

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Read more:

Russian oligarch's superyacht court battle: Dubai Sharia Court dismisses ex-wife's claims

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

Updated: December 16, 2018 09:09 AM

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