A wealthy Russian businessman has lost a four year legal tussle with his ex-wife over their London home.
The home, in South Kensington was jointly purchased by Vladimir Slutsker and his similarly wealthy wife Olga in 2000, via an offshore trust account, so their son Misha could attend English schools. They bought the home for £6 million, and spent an additional £1.5 million on renovations, the Mail reports.
Mrs Slutsker lived at the property with Misha, while her husband made regular visits, before their acrimonious divorce in 2009. By then the value of the home had shot up to an estimated £40 million.
At that point, Mrs Slutsker, the nominated ‘settler’ of the Cayman Islands trust, removed her husband as a beneficiary, thereby eliminating all his rights to the property despite the original joint purchase.
Mr Slutsker pursued her though the courts, insisting that he was entitled to a half share of the property under Russian property law as they had jointly bought the property.
But the High Court ruled that he must live with the consequences of buying the house through an offshore trust.
Lord Justice Lloyd said that even if he had not known that his wife as settler could ‘extinguish’ his rights a beneficiary, he had been aware that trusts were not consistent with Russian property law and had known enough to give ‘effective consent’ to the arrangement.