Tatiana Akhmedova v Farkhad Akhmedov

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
JudgeMrs Justice Knowles
Judgment Date12 June 2020
Neutral Citation[2020] EWHC 1526 (Fam)
Docket NumberCase No: FD13D05340
CourtFamily Division
Date12 June 2020

[2020] EWHC 1526 (Fam)



Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL


Mrs Justice Knowles

Case No: FD13D05340

Tatiana Akhmedova
(1) Farkhad Akhmedov
(2) Woodblade Limited
(3) Cotor Investment SA
(4) Qubo 1 Establishment
(5) Qubo 2 Establishment
(6) Straight Establishment
(7) Avenger Assets Corporation
(8) Counselor Trust Reg.
(9) Sobaldo Establishment
(10) Temur Akhmedov

Alan Gourgey QC and James Willan (instructed by PCB Litigation) for the Applicant

Graham Brodie QC and Richard Eschwege (instructed by BCL Solicitors) for the Eighth and Ninth Respondents

Charles Howard QC and Charlotte Hartley (instructed by Hughes Fowler Carruthers) for the Tenth Respondent

Tim Owen QC and Tim James-Matthews (instructed by Hughes Fowler Carruthers) for the Tenth Respondent

Hearing dates: 11–13 May; 18–19 May 2020


I direct that pursuant to CPR PD 39A para 6.1 no official shorthand note shall be taken of this Judgment and that copies of this version as handed down may be treated as authentic.

THE HONOURABLE Mrs Justice Knowles

Mrs Justice Knowles

This judgment was delivered following a remote hearing conducted on a video conferencing platform and attended by the press. The judge has given leave for this version of the judgment to be published.

Mrs Justice Knowles

By an order dated 26 March 2020, I directed that, at a hearing listed to commence on 11 May 2020, the court would determine the following applications:

a) an application for disclosure by the Applicant Wife against the Tenth Respondent made on 15 November 2019; and

b) an application by the Tenth Respondent dated 29 November 2019 for (i) disclosure from the Applicant Wife in respect of her litigation funding arrangements (to be heard with the Applicant Wife's application to strike out the Tenth Respondent's counterclaim relating to funding dated 28 February 2020), (ii) disclosure of the “Reviewable Documents” provided by Mr Henderson, and (iii) disclosure of other documents on which the Applicant Wife relies.


There were additional matters to determine, namely whether the Tenth Respondent should answer certain requests for information made by the Applicant Wife in relation to his Defence; to give directions for the hearing of a stay application by the Eighth and Ninth Respondents fixed for hearing in mid-June 2020; and to give directions for trial fixed for three weeks commencing on 30 November 2020. Finally, the Tenth Respondent asked the court to make a reporting restriction order and an order prohibiting the disclosure of certain court documents to third parties.


This judgment will deal with (a) the applications relating to the Applicant Wife's litigation funding; (b) the applications for a reporting restriction order and an order prohibiting disclosure to third parties; and (c) the applications relating to disclosure generally.


The Applicant Wife is Tatiana Akhmedova (“the Wife”) and the Tenth Respondent is her son (“Temur”). The First Respondent is her former husband, Farkhad Akhmedov (“the Husband”) who, for some time, has played no visible role in this ongoing litigation for enforcement of the Wife's award against him within ancillary relief proceedings.


I am grateful to counsel who appeared before me during this hearing, conducted remotely in accordance with the President's Protocol for Remote Hearings in the Family Court and in the Family Division of the High Court dated 23 March 2020. The quality of their written and oral submissions was excellent. I record that Mr Owen QC and Mr James-Matthews appeared for Temur to address the issue of the Wife's litigation funding.

Brief Summary of Background and the Claims


The background to this litigation is set out in detail in my judgment dated 2 October 2019 with neutral citation [2019] EWHC 2561 (Fam). What follows is a brief outline:

a) in December 2016 the Husband was ordered to pay the Wife £453,576,152 by Haddon-Cave J (as he then was) by way of financial remedies consequential on their divorce. The Husband has not voluntarily paid a penny of that award, and enforcement to date has realised only about £5 million;

b) The Husband's main identified assets are (i) a superyacht known as the M/Y Luna (“the Yacht”), (ii) modern art valued in January 2016 as US$145.2 million (“the Artwork”) and (iii) cash and securities worth around US$650 million which were previously held by Cotor at UBS (“the Monetary Assets”). Collectively, these are the “Identified Assets”;

c) The Yacht and the Artwork were transferred into Liechtenstein trust structures in November 2016, the month before the trial of the Wife's claim for financial relief against the Husband;

d) Between 2015 and 2016 Cotor transferred at least US$60 million from the Monetary Assets to Temur's Swiss bank account;

e) By December 2016, Cotor – as nominee for the Husband – held the Monetary Assets at UBS in Switzerland. On or about 5 December 2016 Cotor transferred those assets to an account in its name at LGT Bank in Liechtenstein, in turn dissipating them such that, by January 2017, nothing remained in that account;

f) In 2018 the ultimate beneficial ownership of a valuable office property in Central Moscow (“the Moscow Property”), then held through a Cypriot company, was transferred from the Husband to Temur.


I set out a short summary of the claims and defences, now live, in this litigation which proceeds pursuant to s.423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 [“ IA”] and s.37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 [“MCA”]. They are crucial to an understanding of the matters on which I was asked to rule at the May 2020 hearing.


I also note that, by my order on 20 January 2020, I directed that the parties should particularise their claims against each other. I did so to bring some coherence and discipline into these complex proceedings. Properly articulated pleadings are an invaluable means for the court to ensure that fairness prevails, and that valuable court time is used proportionately. Those pleadings are crucial to an understanding of the issues analysed in this judgment. They are not documents which can be drafted and then ignored if that does not fit with an argument that a party wishes to advance.

Claims against Counselor and Sobaldo


This claim by the Wife relates to the Monetary Assets previously held at UBS in Switzerland by Cotor. In December 2016 all those assets were transferred into bank accounts held by Liechtenstein trusts of which Counselor and Sobaldo are trustees. The Wife's case is that the purpose of those transfers was to put the Monetary Assets beyond her reach, and she relies on the following:

a) all the Identified Assets were transferred into Liechtenstein trusts in the weeks immediately before trial in December 2016. This took place in a context where the Husband's lawyer had described a strategy of moving assets to a jurisdiction which did not enforce English judgments (as is the case in Liechtenstein);

b) following judgment and the initiation of proceedings by the Wife in Liechtenstein, the trustees took further steps to move the assets into yet further Liechtenstein trusts to make them harder to trace and recover;

c) Haddon-Cave J held that the Husband has engaged, and continues to engage, in an “ elaborate and contumacious campaign to evade and frustrate the enforcement of the judgment debt against him”. The Husband is said to have described the English court's judgment as being “ worth as much as toilet paper”;

d) The Liechtenstein criminal courts have repeatedly concluded that there is a concrete suspicion of fraudulent bankruptcy and money laundering in respect of these transfers.


Counselor and Sobaldo have presently offered no defence on the merits of the Wife's claims. They contend that they are unable to plead to the facts because of Liechtenstein secrecy laws and assert that there should be a stay of these proceedings and/or the court's powers should not be exercised extra-territorially in this case.

Claims against Temur


The Wife's claims relate to two matters. First, the Husband (including his companies and trusts) transferred some of the Monetary Assets to Temur, namely and as asserted in the Wife's Particulars of Claim (a) US$50 million transferred on 25 August 2015 at a time when a scheme to transfer the Monetary Assets to the United Arab Emirates had been abandoned; and (b) US$10 million between May and June 2016 in the months leading up to trial. Second, the Moscow Property was transferred to Temur in 2018 at a time when the Wife was seeking to enforce the judgment abroad. The transfer was carried out in April 2018 by Sunningdale Ltd (“Sunningdale”), a Cypriot company beneficially owned by the Husband, transferring its interest in the Moscow Property to Solyanka Servis LLC, a Russian company. In June 2018 Sunningdale transferred its interest in Solyanka Servis to Temur.


The Wife contends that Temur played a key role – essentially as his father's lieutenant – in the Husband's strategy of evasion, in particular, by devising and executing the schemes.


In his Defence, Temur admits that the English court has jurisdiction to determine the Wife's claims and that he has received over US$106 million from the Husband (and his companies) in addition to (unparticularised) “ generalised financial provision”, although he does not admit the provenance of these funds. He also accepts that the relevant intention for the purposes of s.423 of the IA and s.37 of the MCA is that of the Husband which he says is outside his knowledge. However, Temur contends that, in late 2013, the Husband told him...

To continue reading

Request your trial
2 cases
  • Tatiana Akhmedova v Farkhad Teimur Ogly Akhmedov
    • United Kingdom
    • Family Division
    • 21 April 2021
    ...of proceedings” and was struck out by my order dated 19 June 2020 (see Akhmedova v Akhmedov & Ors (Litigation Funding) (Rev 1) [2020] EWHC 1526 (Fam)). The Court of Appeal refused Temur permission to appeal against that order. The second counterclaim, which remained extant, was for alleged......
  • Paul Mark Simon v Lauren Belinda Simon
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 15 September 2023
    ...in fact important that they should be available and the appropriate protection afforded to the funder’. 88 In Akhmedova v Akhmedov [2020] EWHC 1526 (Fam), [2021] 1 FLR 1 at [40]–[45], Gwynneth Knowles J, when addressing an argument that the wife's litigation funding in that case was champ......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT