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News & Articles

Osborne Morris & Morgan > News and Articles > Family > Former property billionaire in divorce battle

Former property billionaire in divorce battle

Posted on 29 Mar 2016, in Family

A property developer who was once worth billions of pounds is in a divorce row with his Lithuanian-born wife over the remnants of his business empire. Bedfordshire residents may recall that he was once listed in the Sunday Times Rich List, where he was estimated to be worth £3 billion. His investments included a stake of over 30 per cent in the Shard and ownership of Mentmore Towers, the country estate in Buckinghamshire that he had planned to develop into a six-star hotel.

The divorce between the couple has been in the High Court since 2013 but only became public knowledge after a separate court hearing was held in Jersey. His wife filed for divorce a few years after he was declared bankrupt citing adulterous behaviour. Although the couple was granted a decree nisi, their divorce has not been finalised as they have been enmeshed in legal battles over the ownership of his remaining property and other assets.

The Syrian-born businessman invested an inheritance from his father in the U.K. property market, and by 2007 was listed as the 194th richest person in the world and the 14th richest in Britain. Before his bankruptcy in 2010 he owned fleets of cars, a vineyard, stately homes in England and France and various commercial property interests. His bankruptcy is seen as one of the largest falls from grace in the country.

A decree nisi is issued to show that the court is satisfied that the petition for a divorce is legitimate. Family court is usually unable to rule on financial aspects of a divorce until a decree nisi has been granted. A person may wish to consult with a solicitor knowledgeable in divorce proceedings if the divorce may involve the division of complex assets.


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