Russian oligarch loses bid to recover £350million superyacht in Dubai

Russian oligarch loses legal bid to recover his £350million superyacht after it was seized in Dubai when he allegedly failed to pay his ex-wife a penny of the UK’s biggest divorce settlement

  • Farkhad Akhmedov and his ex-wife are embroiled in £453million divorce battle 
  • A court in Dubai seized the oligarch’s yacht when she docked for maintenance
  • This weekend he lost his latest legal battle to recover the £350million yacht 
  • Tatiana claims she hasn’t ‘received a penny’ from his estimated £900m fortune 
  • Akhmedov has hit back insisting he gave her the family home in Weybridge  
  • A source close to the billionaire told MailOnline Tatiana still lives like royalty’ 
  • Akhmedov believes last year’s settlement, Britain’s biggest, is ‘manifestly unfair’ 
  • The couple, who married in 1993 and then moved to the UK, have two children 

A Dubai court has refused to return a £350million superyacht which was seized from a Russian oligarch amid a battle over the UK’s biggest divorce settlement. 

Farkhad Akhmedov, who is embroiled in a £453million divorce with his wife Tatiana, lost his latest legal bid to reclaim the yacht Luna – which formerly belonged to Roman Abramovich – and will also have to pay his wife’s legal costs. 

The yacht was seized in February by commercial courts at the Dubai International Finance Centre when she docked in for routine maintenance. This weekend the oligarch lost his bid to lift the freezing order.  

The move followed Russian oil and gas billionaire Akhmedov’s alleged refusal to pay his former wife Tatiana a penny of the £453 million awarded to her in divorce proceedings in the London High Court in 2016.

He insists the couple were divorced in Moscow in 2000 over her infidelity with English web designer Mark Isle, nine years her junior. 

Ms Akhdemova’s legal team said: ‘We note the weekend’s decision and are pleased that this court has also seen fit to maintain the arrest of Luna. In line with the UK court order, we will continue to arrange the formal transferral of Luna’s ownership to Ms Akhmedova.’ 

Akhmedov’s representatives say there will be another hearing in a few weeks in Dubai where the authorities will consider his appeal.  

Russian oligarch Farkhad Akhmedov, who is at the centre of Britain’s costliest divorce, has had his £300m super yacht Luna seized after his former wife won a court order to seize his assets

Bailiffs acting for the High Court in London took control of the 115m yacht named Luna (pictured), which is owned by oil and gas tycoon Mr Akhmedov when it docked in Dubai

Divorce: Billionaire Akhmedov (left) has been ordered to pay his ex-wife Tatiana (right) £453m by a divorce judge making the split the most expensive ever in Britain

He continued to provide lavishly for Tatiana and their two sons, enabling her to live ‘like royalty’, until she sought a new divorce settlement 12 years later under English law.

Last month, in a legal victory for the family trust which owns Luna and for Mr Akhmedov, a practising Muslim, Dubai’s most senior judges ordered that all proceedings involving Luna be transferred from the DIFC courts to the emirate’s local Sharia courts.

The judges of Dubai’s Joint Judicial Committee ruled that the DIFC should have never been involved since the proceedings involved divorce rather than principally financial matters.

Following the move to the local courts, Luna was allowed to leave the dry docks for the open waters of Prince Rashid harbour in preparation for her release. 

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In another significant move, the yacht’s 50-strong, mainly British, crew had passports which had previously been seized by armed coastguards returned to them in readiness for leaving Dubai.

These moves came as a blow to Tatiana and her legal team and financial backers until her latest legal victory at the weekend.

In a bid to secure the English settlement, Tatiana assigned the debt to litigation financiers Burford Capital, a London AIM listed company in return for their receiving up to 30 per cent of any money recovered. 

Luna’s 50-man crew, who live on board (pictured) have not been allowed to leave the UAE and are believed to be staying on the yacht since it was seized on Valentine’s Day

The Luna – which boasts the largest swimming pool on any of the world’s super yachts – is considered one of the prize assets of 61-year-old Akhmedov’s £900million fortune

Mr Akhmedov has always said the High Court in London was misguided in awarding Tatiana a second divorce settlement following the Moscow divorce. 

Earlier this year a source close to the businessman told MailOnline: ‘Mr Akhmedov has given his ex-wife a country home worth £20 million in Weybridge.

‘He is providing millions of pounds a year to fund her jet-set lifestyle, enabling her to live like royalty with a full staff of housekeepers, gardeners and chauffeurs.’ 

His ex-wife began proceedings in London in 2012, just days after her oil and gas tycoon former husband had added to his fortune with the billion pound sale of his oil and gas assets in Russia.

Tatiana, who took up UK citizenship following the Moscow divorce, now lives in a multi-million pound Surrey mansion.  

Mr Akhmedov retained his Russian citizenship and only ever visited the UK to see his young sons with Tatiana – both now in their 20s.

Mr Akhmedov’s legal fight to thwart orders seeking to freeze his assets and those of the family trust now involves complex litigation around the world. 

Gas and oil tycoon Akhmedov bought the yacht called Luna (pictured) from his close friend Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in 2014

The tycoon spent more than £50m on a refit for the vessel, which boasts nine decks and has two helipads as well as 10 VIP rooms and sumptuous bedrooms (pictured)

The boat boasts a huge swimming pool, which is the largest on any of the world’s super yachts

The yacht is being held in Dubai as part of Akhmedov’s ongoing divorce battle with his ex-wife

During their marriage, the couple enjoyed a glitteringly lavish lifestyle, sailing around the world on Luna, with a £20 million mansion in Surrey, as well as a £27.8 million holiday pad

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