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Documents could hold the key

Member: Nifa

A Russian oligarch has been ordered by a High Court judge to make documents available relating to his finances after it was deemed that he has taken “numerous elaborate steps” to hide his wealth. Farkhad Akhmedov, a former oil and gas trader who made his fortune in the Russian energy sector was found to be in contempt of court because the judge had ordered him (in December 2016) to pay his ex-wife a 41.5 per cent share of his £1 billion-plus fortune. According to Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, Tatiana Akhmedova is being prejudiced because of the delay.

The leader of Tatiana Akhmedova’s legal team said that “not a cent has been paid to her”, adding “it is clear … that assets have been moved.” The judge had criticised Mr Akhmedov at an earlier hearing, saying it was apparent that he had made numerous attempts to hide his wealth and “evade the enforcement of the judgment.”

The judge referred to the businessman’s “continuing campaign” to defeat his former wife by “concealing his assets in a web of offshore companies”. He also heard how Ms Akhmedova has been involved in litigation around the world in her attempts to lay claim to her former husband’s assets.

However, the judge was also told at this most recent hearing that Mr Akhmedova’s former lawyers have now complied with the order and given a number of documents to Ms Akhmedova’s legal team. This could be the key to finding where the money is, as forensic accountants are expert at finding the tiniest anomaly or clue in any documentation that will lead to where assets have gone.

Roger Isaacs, Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “Forensic accountants are often brought in to scrutinise the finer details of a divorce case in instances where assets are believed to have been moved or concealed.

Author: Roger Isaacs 20 August 2018

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