Updated: Dec 13, 2020
The son of a Russian oligarch said $50 million in funds from his father didn’t disappear because he was hiding the assets from his mother. The truth, he said, was that he’d lost the money on “risky” trades while he was at university.
Farkhad Akhmedov’s son, Temur, is at the center of the latest legal fight stemming from Britain’s largest divorce case. The 27-year-old said that his mother, Tatiana Akhmedova, was well aware of his trading activities at the London School of Economics. She had even consoled him about the loss.
“That the sums were astronomical is nothing to the point,” Temur’s attorney, Robert Levy, said in a legal filing. “Some of the extremely rich lavish their children with unimaginable sums. That is what Farkhad and Tatiana did during their marriage.”
The claim came out at a London court where Tatiana has accused her son of “wholeheartedly” aiding her ex-husband. She is seeking to recover a 450 million-pound ($596 million) court-approved divorce payout, and alleges the men worked together to hide the cash. Farkhad Akhmedov has refused to pay, leaving Tatiana to pursue cases in at least six countries.
Farkhad made much of his wealth from the sale of his stake in a Russian gas producer in November 2012 for $1.4 billion.
The fight has led to so-far unsuccessful legal attempts to seize a 115-meter (377-foot) superyacht once owned by Roman Abramovich that is currently holed up in Dubai, and a collection of modern art worth more than $140 million in a secure storage facility in Liechtenstein known as the “Treasure House.”
This week’s hearing is centered on Temur’s apparent wealth. Tatiana’s legal team has said that Judge Gwynneth Knowles could order the sale of his London apartment, a property that was initially bought for 29 million pounds.
“For me, day-trading equals gambling,” Tatiana said as she gave evidence Monday.
Temur is set to testify later in the week after telling the judge that he flew to Moscow when he should have been in London because he was stressed and scared. He admitted hours ahead of the hearing that he’d tried to prevent some of his devices from being handed over -- and by so doing he had breached a court order. The latest statement was a “huge admission,” his lawyer said.
“This is a gentleman who has played fast and loose” in an attempt to limit information being made available, Levy said of Temur.
Central to Temur’s case is that his mother was aware of his trading -- even if she disapproved -- and that it was never part of any attempt to put the money out of reach. But Tatiana said her eldest son played a leading role in the plan and was involved as early as September 2015, before the divorce ruling the following year.
“If the Tatiana problem did not exist, my father would not move his assets anywhere,” Temur wrote in an email at the time.
Billionaire Shocked by Son’s Quick $50 Million Trading Loss
The son at the center of a $600 million divorce case in London said he felt he let his father down when he lost more than $50 million while day trading as a college student.
Temur Akhmedov is testifying to counter accusations from his mother, who says he worked with his father, Farkhad Akhmedov, to hide assets after their divorce. Temur says he isn’t hiding the money, but instead lost much of it with bad trades.
His father, a one-time fur trader who went on to amass a fortune running a gas producer in Siberia, was very angry when he found out about the trading loss, he said.
“I suspected he was thinking that he would never have made the same mistakes that I had,” the 27-year-old said in a legal filing Wednesday. “To him, it was a shocking sum to have lost, especially so quickly.”
Temur said he’d had some initial success and made a profit trading stocks, only to hit a losing streak while studying at the London School of Economics. When he tried to make back the money, “convinced this loss was just bad luck,” he increased his risk exposure and lost everything, he explained in court.
What happened to Temur’s trading is key to the latest legal fight stemming from Britain’s largest divorce case. His mother, Tatiana, has said that Temur helped her former husband to move assets, including by trading large sums. But Temur, her eldest son, has insisted that she knew all about his losses.
She is seeking to recover a 450 million-pound ($600 million) court-approved divorce payout. Farkhad Akhmedov has refused to pay, leaving Tatiana to pursue legal cases in at least six countries.
Farkhad made much of his wealth from the $1.4 billion sale of his stake in a Russian gas producer in November 2012. His original fur trading business collapsed with the fall of the Soviet Union.
Temur said that if he’d made any trading profits they would have been held in Britain and available to his mother.
“And though those sums are now ‘beyond reach,’ it is only because I invested them badly and the sums were lost,” he said.
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