April 12, 2018 / 10:37 AM / 4 months ago

Divorce battle strands Russian billionaire's $540 million yacht in Dubai

DUBAI (Reuters) - A custody battle in one of the world’s costliest divorces is playing out in Dubai with the former spouses fighting for control over a $540 million yacht temporarily seized by the Gulf emirate this year.

Court documents show that the family trust of Russian billionaire Farkad Akhmedov won the right of appeal on Tuesday against the impounding of the nine-decker Luna that boasts two helipads and the world’s largest swimming pool on a superyacht.

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts allowed the trust, Straight Establishment, to appeal for the release of the vessel by Dubai authorities, according to the documents seen by Reuters.

A British court ruled that Akhmedov, an oil and gas tycoon, now owes 453.6 million sterling ($567 million) to his ex-wife Tatiana Mikhavilovna Akhmedova, according to the UK court papers - in what British newspapers described as one of the world’s costliest divorces.

Forbes estimates Akhmedov’s net worth is $1.4 billion. In August, the U.S. Treasury Department put him on a list of sanctioned Russian state-owned companies and so-called “oligarchs”, identified as close to President Vladimir Putin.

Agents acting on behalf of the British courts petitioned the DIFC Courts to take control of the yacht, Dubai newspaper Gulf News reported, as parties working for Akhmedova had been searching for her husband’s assets globally so she could get payments as part of the settlement.

Reporting by Saeed Azhar; additional reporting by Kirsten Ridley in London; Editing by Noah Browning/Mark Heinrich

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