A former London oil and gas trader, who built up a fortune in the Russian energy business, has today been ordered to pay his former wife £453 million by Mr Justice Haddon-Cave following a private hearing in the High Court in London.

Whilst neither party has been named, the Husband is a 61 year old man from the Caucasus.  His former wife is 44 and from Eastern Europe.  The pair met in 1989 while the woman was studying in Moscow.  They married in Moscow in 1993 and moved to London.  It is understood they have two grown up children. The Husband worked as an oil and gas trader.  His wife was a full time housewife and mother.

Almost five years ago, the Husband sold his shares in a Russian company for $1.3 billion.  The Judge today awarded the wife 41.5% of the “total marital assets”; she having contended that their “total net marital wealth” was just over £1 billion.

One of the main issues before the Court related to their contributions.  The Wife said the “entire wealth” was “matrimonial in character” and had been built up during a long marriage through “equal contributions to the welfare of the family”.  It appears as though the Husband tried to argue that he had made a “special contribution” to the creation of their wealth.

As so many family law cases are held in private it is impossible to say whether this is the biggest award. We know that during 2014, Jamie Cooper-Hohn, wife of financier Sir Chris Hohn, was awarded more than £330 million and in 2011, Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky featured in a multi-million pound divorce case with reports suggesting that his former wife Galinan Besharova agreed to accept between £165 million and £220 million as part of her divorce settlement.  So today’s award must surely be near the top of the scale when it comes to settlements on divorce.

Dividing assets during a divorce can be one of the most challenging aspects which is why it is vital to have the correct legal advice before you begin. Whether you are expecting to be dividing thousands or millions of pounds of assets, a specialist in family law can be there to ensure the fairest deal is reached whether this is outside of court or through mediations and eventually court.

Here at Farleys, we have a number of experienced divorce lawyers who can advise you throughout your divorce. To speak to the family law team please call 0845 287 0939 or contact us online.