Trusts and Betrayal
Many Russian oligarchs have one foot on the ground in England, hoping (against all evidence to the contrary) that they would be free there from the long arm of Putin’s FSB poison squad, should they happen to make a slip of the tongue in a meeting with government officials or in a television interview. These plays for high stakes in a stark comparison to ordinary British residents, as demonstrated by the recent aftershock proceedings in the long-running bitter divorce battle between FarkhadAkhmedov and Tatiana Akhmedova, who was awarded 41.5% of the billion-dollar-plus Akhmedov fortune in 2016. Her $631 million-dollar settlement was the largest ever awarded in England.
After the settlement was announced, Farkhad reached out to their son Temur for help in concealing and laundering his assets so that they would be out of his mother’s reach. He told his son that he would sooner burn all his money than see his ex-wife get a single penny. Temur, who was totally dependent on his father for sustenance, readily agreed. The father/son partners in crime created an elaborate network of shell companies and trustee accounts in Liechtenstein and other offshore havens in order to make the oil and gas business look like the world’s worst way to make a living.
On April 20, 2021, British judge Gwynneth Knowles ordered Temur to surrender the keys to his dad’s $400 million-dollar yacht (“M.V. Luna”), as well as the account numbers and passwords she will need to access some of the money hidden in offshore accounts.
After the verdict against him, Temur proclaimed that he was relieved, and said he hoped that the judge’s order would become a means of reconciling his estranged parents. It remains to be seen whether and how the “super yacht” makes its way from Dubai to the North Sea. One imagines that Akhmedov, if he is ever forced to comply with the ruling, will chose a route to England that goes through the Suez Canal, the Cape of Good Hope, the Straits of Gibraltar, the Dead Sea, the Great Salt Lake and the heart of the polar iceberg belt.
In Fairfield and New Haven County, where it sometimes seems that hedge fund multimillionaires are a dime a dozen, we haven’t any memory of such a brazen case of pitting a child against his or her mother to avert paying a settlement. Sadly, though, many magnates go to extreme lengths to shelter their fortunes and their income from both the IRS and the prying eyes of their spouse’s divorce attorney. And it is not unheard of for a jilted spouse to enlist his/her children as pawns or accessories to help win a quest to walk away from the marriage with as close to everything as possible.
Whether you are comfortably well-off or as rich as Midas, counting on the generosity of the moneyed spouse or the self-abnegation of the less-moneyed spouse are horrible strategies if you want to maintain the same or similar standard of living post-divorce. To defend your rights and reach a fair and reasonable settlement with your spouse, you need high-caliber financial and legal advice.
Shelton-based Hirsch Legal, LLC can provide you with the solid legal advice and the extensive network of referrals you may need to engage other professionals – tax experts, real estate appraisers, marriage counselors, etc. – to make sure you have the ability to present a formidable case to the judge.
If you live in New Haven or Fairfield County (Bridgeport, Trumbull, Danbury, Milford), consider contacting Attorney Carmina K. Hirsch, a featured author in A Practical Guide to Divorce in Connecticut, whose reputation is built on a strong foundation of successful settlement negotiations. If you are facing or initiating a high-stakes divorce action, call us today!