A former model divorcing a Saudi billionaire is seeking a settlement of more than £200 million, it has been reported.
Christina Estrada, now 54, was married to Sheikh Walid Al-Juffali for 13 years, enjoying a highly affluent lifestyle, before her husband eventually pronounced a talaq (traditional Islamic divorce). The couple have one daughter.
Estrada received permission to apply for a settlement in the English courts, under the Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984., which relates to overseas marriages.
The Sheikh, whose fortune is estimated to run to around £4 billion, previously generated headlines by claiming diplomatic immunity from his wife’s maintenance bid after he became an official representative of the Caribbean island of St Lucia. But his bid was rejected by High Court Judge Mr Justice Hayden, who labelled the role “an entirely artificial construct”.
His ruling was partially upheld by the Court of Appeal, despite criticism by Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond. Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson said the Sheikh was entitled in principle to immunity from the wife’s financial claims, but:
“…the judge was entitled to conclude on the facts that H is not entitled to immunity because he is permanently resident in the UK and the claim does not relate to any official acts performed by [the husband] in the exercise of his functions.”
At a preliminary hearing in London, the husband’s lawyers have now described Mrs Estrada’s bid for £238 million as difficult to describe “without resort to hyperbole.” The sum claimed is reported to include £68 million for a seven storey property in London.
Dr Juffali has offered her a settlement of £32 million, including a lump sum payment of around $10 million and £2 million in annual maintenance payments for ten years.
A full five-day hearing is scheduled to begin next week, on June 24, before Mrs Justice Roberts.
Dr Juffali is reported to be suffering from advanced lung cancer.
His first wife, Basma, received a $60 million settlement after a 20 year-marriage.