Hiding marital assets is no joke

A judgment from the High Court has recently been handed down in one of the world’s largest valued divorce cases. The level of marital assets in this case is an astounding £453m fortune that includes several luxury mansions, a superyacht called Luna, a helicopter, a private jet and an art collection including pieces by Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst.

Tatiana Akhmedova accused her ex-husband, Farkhad Akhmedov, an oligarch and their son Temur Akhmedov of hiding hundreds of millions in assets in order to avoid paying the blockbuster settlement awarded to her by the high court in 2016. She alleges that her husband transferred cash and assets to their son in order to avoid paying her the money. They deny the claims and say she was aware of the father-to-son gifts, which included a £30m apartment in One Hyde Park.

The High Court have found in her favour with her son ordered to pay her £75 million with the judge preceding over the case stating he was “a dishonest individual who will do anything to assist his father…Temur has learned well from his father’s past conduct and has done and said all he could to prevent his mother receiving a penny of the matrimonial assets.” The judge also  compared the breakdown of relations in the Akhmedov family to Leo Tolstoy’s classic Russian novel Anna Karenina. “All happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” she said in her judgment. “With apologies to Tolstoy, the Akhmedov family is one of the unhappiest ever to have appeared in my courtroom.”

Whilst many can only dream to have the level of assets this couple achieved before their marriage broken down, the important lesson here is that no matter what the value of marital assets, if one spouse is found to have been dishonest in their dealings and attempted to deplete the level of assets to ensure their spouse has a lower settlement, the Court will take such action seriously and levy the appropriate penalties against that person or persons involved.

Full financial disclosure and honest dealings are the sensible way to proceed in order to achieve a fair settlement for both parties in the quickest amount of time. Spouses can be worried about whether their ex is attempting to hide marital assets but this is usually not an easy thing to do and experienced family solicitors are armed with the necessary tools to uncover any assets which a spouse might be attempting to hide.

If you are experiencing a relationship breakdown and are unsure as to the level of assets you are entitled to, please book an initial consultation with one of our experienced family solicitors today.

Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich.

Ipswich Family Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk