News and Events

Saudi prince in divorce battle over $5.7 billion fortune

  • Posted

The billionaire sheikh who had divorced his wife in Saudi Arabia without telling her has lost a case in London's High Court that would have made him exempt in the U.K. from any legally binding demands for alimony. The Saudi prince was claiming that he had diplomatic immunity after Saint Lucia, a Caribbean island that holidaymakers from Greater Manchester may recognise, had appointed him as its representative on the International Maritime Organisation. 

The man had argued that as a permanent representative to the IMO, his position granted him diplomatic status, a situation that would grant him immunity from any legally binding judgement concerning a divorce settlement. The judge ruled that his claim was unsound and that the only reason he had arranged for the appointment was in order to protect his fortune and avoid an alimony claim from his ex-wife. 

The Saudi prince, who has a fortune that has been estimated at £4 billion, said that he had given his ex-wife a Beverley Hills house and a monthly payout of about £69,0000. His 53-year-old wife, who was once a Pirelli calendar model, has declared that he is a resident in the U.K., and now that the High Court has handed down its ruling, she is free to pursue a divorce settlement. London has recently been described as the divorce capital of the world due to the perception that divorce settlements are more generous than in other countries.

A guiding principle for courts has been to view the contribution of the homemaker in a marriage equal to that of the breadwinner. When a divorce settlement requires the division of significant property interests, a spouse may find it valuable to seek advice from a knowledgeable solicitor. Legal recommendations may concern the subject of full disclosure of assets within the marital estate, including off-shore and business properties.