A Russian woman who won a record-breaking £53 million settlement from her former husband has been awarded additional legal costs of more than £1.5 million.
The unnamed woman separated from her husband, a highly successful businessman also from Russia, in 2008, after an 17 year marriage. She filed for divorce in Russia the following year, but then applied for financial relief (a financial settlement) in the English courts, as she and ex-husband had lived in the UK since 2005.
Earlier this year she was awarded, after extensive litigation a lump sum payment of £38 million, plus the couples UK properties, for a total settlement of £53 million, half her ex-husband’s estimated wealth of £107 million.
Judgement was delayed while the court awaited the Supreme Court’s decision in Petrodel v Prest, as this case also involved a dispute over whether the husband or a number of companies were the true owners of properties in England to be given the wife as part of the settlement.
Mrs Justice King noted:
“The Companies (the legal owners of four of the relevant English properties) were unsuccessful in asserting that they, not the husband, were the true beneficial owners of the properties.”
In October the wife applied for the payment for her legal costs on an ‘indemnity basis’, applying to both the ex-husband and to the companies who had claimed ownership of the properties. Her costs claimed extended from from mid-January 2010 to the present.
Her husband did not attend the hearing and neither he nor the companies put forward any opposition to her application.
The judge claimed the husband’s behaviour during the case had been “wilful and cynical” and that he had attempted to “hoodwink the court”.
In her judgement she wrote:
“This is, in my judgment, a case, if ever there was one, where an order for indemnity costs is the correct order. Litigation conduct of the type exhibited by the Husband and, at his direction, the Companies, is of the most extreme type and thankfully not often seen.”
The husband and the companies were ordered to pay the wife a total of £1,514,598.