A wife in recent divorce case AAZ v BBZ  EWHC 3234 (Fam) has been awarded 41.5% of matrimonial assets which amounts to £453 million and it is thought to be one of the largest divorce awards in the UK.
The husband is 61 and the wife is 44. They married in Moscow in July 1993 and have two sons together. In 2012 the husband sold shares in a Russian company for US$1.375 billion.
Although the wife was represented, the husband was not and did not appear in person at any hearing but attended the final hearing by video-link from his yacht in the Caribbean.
The wife argued that the total net marital wealth in the case was £1.092 billion, that the entire wealth was matrimonial in character as she had been hands on mother and should be subject to the sharing principle. The non-appearance of the husband meant that the court did not have the benefit of hearing any evidence or submissions from him.
The wife had originally made an open offer under FPR 2010 of a payment of a lump sum of £350 million which represented 33% of the marital assets. In breach of the rules, the husband did not himself make an open offer. The Judge stated that “The wife is not bound by her open offer and an unaccepted offer is a thing writ in water and can be revoked.”
In addition to a lump sum payment of £350 million (and the assets the wife currently holds of £10,165,162), she also sought a further £93,060,990 comprising the following:
- The chattels valued at £2,479,125;
- An Aston Martin valued at £350,000 (the sale proceeds of which were intended to provide a fighting fund to assist in enforcement proceedings abroad);
- A modern art collection held by P Ltd which has recently been valued (on a sale basis) at US$112m.
Haddon-Cave J found the total value of W’s claim to be £453,576,152, comprising 41.5% of the total marital assets, and considered an award of that sum to be justified in all the circumstances.
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