In one of the biggest divorce settlements in English legal history, a former London oil and gas trader has been ordered to pay his separated wife 453 million pounds (approx. Rs 3,700 crore) – 41.5 per cent of his wealth – as compensation.
The 61-year-old man met his wife, now aged 44, in 1989 in Moscow where she was studying and they married four years later, according to a judgement handed down at London’s High Court on Thursday.
The written ruling from judge Charles Haddon-Caves stated that the man, who was born in the Caucasus, earned a fortune in Russia’s energy sector, selling shares in a Russian company he set up for $1.37 billion (approx. Rs 8,800 crore) in 2012.
The woman, who is originally from eastern Europe, was a housewife throughout the marriage and became a British citizen in 2000. She brought up their two children in Surrey, south of London, where they were educated at private schools before going to university in England.
She said that her estranged husband’s wealth amounted to just over 1 billion pounds and argues that the wealth was “acquired and built up during their long marriage by the parties’ equal contributions to the welfare of the family,” the judgement said.
The man, who has been granted indefinite leave to live in Britain, did not contest the proceedings, for reasons which the judge said were unclear, but had contended that he had made a "special contribution" to the family's wealth.
As part of the overall 453 million pound settlement, Haddon-Cave ordered the transfer to the woman of an Aston Martin car worth 350,000 pounds and a modern art collection valued at over 90 million pounds.
The largest previous reported divorce settlement in Britain was the $530 million sum awarded to the estranged wife of hedge fund billionaire Christopher Hohn in 2014, although many divorce disputes are held in private.