Son of Gas Billionaire Learns Hiding Assets Never Pays Off

Highly detailed financial matters in a divorce requiring an in-depth analysis of funds, assets, debts, and ownings. While it can be tempting to try to secrete some assets away from the view of the divorce court, this almost always fails, and the court does not take kindly to any attempt to conceal assets. Temur Akhmedov learned this lesson in a UK court recently.

The Akhmedov Divorce

Russian oligarch Farkhad Akmedov (who is on the list of oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin) earned $1.4 billion in 2012 with the sale of his ownership stake in a Russian gas producer and is one of the wealthiest Russians. He and his wife Tatiana were divorced in 2016, and at that time, the UK court gave her 41.5% of the couple’s assets totaling 453.6 million pounds, or $631 million in US dollars, which is believed to be the largest UK divorce judgment ever issued.

Farkhad has refused to follow the court’s order, arguing that they actually divorced 20 years ago (the judge determined that the documentation for that was forged and invalid). He gave her only five million pounds at the time of the divorce judgment, a far cry from the millions he was ordered to pay. The divorce began as contentious and has continued to be so.

A primary asset in the divorce is the M.V. Luna superyacht (containing a pool, submarine, nine decks, and two helipads), originally built for another Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich. Farkhad bought it in 2014 for 260 million euros. Tatiana was awarded it in the divorce and has been trying to recover it. It was impounded in Dubai in 2018, but so far, that country has refused to give her possession. The yacht flies a Marshall Islands flag, and the legal battles are continuing there over ownership. Also at stake is a $100 million art collection that was housed in Lichtenstein and then moved to a yacht where it cannot be removed.

A Family Affair

The divorce is complicated by the involvement of their son Temur, a UK resident. Tatiana alleged that Temur acted as his father’s lieutenant to hide assets from Tatiana and the court. Tatiana obtained a court order that Temur was limited to 3000 pounds per week in spending money. Temur stated that was not enough to live on.

After this order was issued, Tatiana accused Farkhad of transferring assets to Temur to hide them from the divorce. This included a 30 million pound apartment in London and $106 million he was to invest. Temur lost more than $50 million from the day trading he did while attending the London School of Economics in December 2020

The London court found that Temur was acting in collusion with his father and ordered him to pay his mother $100 million. The judge said he was a "dishonest individual who will do anything to assist his father” and stated, “Temur has learned well from his father’s past conduct and has done and said all he could to prevent his mother receiving a penny of the matrimonial assets.” The judge further stated this was part of a plan to create a smokescreen for Farkhad’s assets so that Tatiana could not access them.

Hidden Assets Rarely Pay Off

Divorce requires a complete accounting of the couple’s assets. Any attempt to hide an asset, particularly a large asset, is unlikely to go unnoticed by the other side or the divorce court. Hidden assets are almost always uncovered and create an increase in the legal fees necessary to deal with the situation.

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Dror Bikel

Dror Bikel founded and leads Bikel & Schanfield, New York’s best known firm for high-conflict matrimonial disputes. A New York Superlawyer℠ and twice recognized (2020 and 2021) New York Divorce Trial Lawyer of the Year, Dror’s reputation as a fearsome advocate in difficult custody and divorce disputes has led him to deliver solid outcomes in some of New York’s most complex family law trials. Attorney Bikel is a frequent commentator on high profile divorces for national and international media outlets. His book The 1% Divorce - When Titans Clash was a 5-category Amazon bestseller.

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