Property developer worth £1.1 billion claims not to have been married to his ‘wife’

Various news outlets have recently reported on the case of Asif Aziz, a billionaire London property developer, who claims that he was never married to his wife, Tagilde Aziz. The parties had been together for 14 years and the couple divorced in November 2016. However, Mr Aziz is now trying to seek a reversal of that decree on the basis that he says their Muslim marriage ceremony, claimed to have taken place in Malawi in 2002, was not a valid marriage ceremony and therefore the parties have not been legally married. He also claims his marriage was based on a fake certificate which was obtained so that a child they had adopted could get a passport.

His wife is claiming a share of his £1.1 billion asset pot in financial remedy proceedings in the High Court. Deborah Bangay QC, who is acting for Mrs Aziz, says “Mrs Aziz is entitled to – and does – rely on the presumption of marriage and the facts that the parties presented to the world for the totality of the period between 2002 and their separation … It is for Mr Aziz to credibly explain … why he presented to the world for a period of two decades that he and Mrs Aziz were married.”

Cases of this nature are a rarity but if a spouse is faced with this situation, there are still options which allow the affected party to obtain financial relief from the Court as though they had been legally married. At Barker Gotelee the family department can offer a free initial consultation to discuss any queries in relation to the divorce process or a spouse’s entitlements to financial provision.

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

Ipswich Family Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email