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High Court considers fraudulent divorce claim

The estranged wife of a wealthy Russian businessman has claimed she knew nothing about a divorce he says took place more than 11 years ago.

At a preliminary High Court hearing this week, the woman insisted she had no knowledge of the “fraudulent” divorce in Russia before discovering documents in a safe. She now wants to begin divorce proceedings in the English courts.

She lives in this country while her husband has moved to Switzerland. He continues to pursue a career in the Russian oil market.

The issue came before Mrs Justice Parker. She explained that she would have to decide whether or not the hugely wealthy couple really had legally divorced in Moscow in November 2006 or whether the wife’s claims were true.

She said:

“This is a very hard fought case with vast amounts at stake on both sides. The husband is adamant … that they were agreeable to divorce – and the required practice of the Russian court was complied with.”

But, she continued:

“It is the wife’s case that she never knew there was a divorce until she discovered documents in a safe kept by the husband in a property in Russia.”

A further hearing to consider the matter has been scheduled for later this year.

A separate dispute concerning care of the couple’s two teenage children reached the High Court in 2017. Mr Justice Peter Jackson ruled that they should go to live with their father in Switzerland.

The Judge noted that:

“In a case of this kind, where a family has every conceivable material advantage, it is easy to forget the old truth that money cannot buy you happiness.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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