The Londoner: Divorce pair fight over art treasures

Evening Standard
Frozen goods: Andy Warhol's "Marilyn Monroe (Photo Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images): AFP/Getty Images
Frozen goods: Andy Warhol's "Marilyn Monroe (Photo Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images): AFP/Getty Images

Farkhad Akhmedov, the Russian billionaire at the centre of the UK’s biggest divorce case, has warned his estranged wife Tatiana Akhmedova that he will fight “in every jurisdiction” her efforts to seize his art collection — understood to be in excess of £90 million — after his £34 million Rothko and nine Warhols were impounded as part of financial proceedings. The couple, who were married 20 years ago and have two sons, have been locked in dispute since 2013. In 2016 a High Court judge ordered Akhmedov (left) to pay Akhmedova (far left) £453million: which included his £350,000 Aston Martin, his modern art collection, valued at £90 million and the contents of their former home, valued at almost £2.5 million.

In March lawyers for Tatiana alleged that Farkhad had “sought to conceal his assets to avoid paying her”, including a 377ft super-yacht originally built for Roman Abramovich, and sought a freezing order on his assets.

Akhmedov’s art collection includes eight Warhols of Marilyn Monroe, another of Brigitte Bardot and a second Rothko. Also frozen is his collection of Holland & Holland shotguns, which can sell for up to £200,000 each.

The oligarch , who featured on an American list of Russian businessmen with close ties to President Putin, started out selling sable furs. He moved with his family to London in 1993. He claims he divorced his wife in Moscow in 2000 and that she only sought financial settlement in London after he sold his shares in ZAO Northgas, a Russian company, for £1 billion in 2012 and therefore refuses to abide by the court order.

Tatiana’s is backed by Burford Capital, a firm chaired by Sir Peter Middleton, former head of the Treasury and the ex-chair of Barclays.

A spokesman said: “Mr Akhmedov has made it clear he will fight this ruling for as long as it takes in every jurisdiction.”

Shackleton swaps court for chapel

Why was Fiona Shackleton at the royal wedding? The high-profile divorce lawyer was spotted in the crowd by Popbitch. Yes, she is on good terms with Prince Charles — she was his personal solicitor — and handled Prince Andrew’s divorce from Sarah Ferguson (as well as Paul McCartney’s from Heather Mills). But divorce lawyers aren’t routinely wedding guests, and she was not present at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s ceremony.

We called Shackleton’s office this morning to ask if she had a nice time but we are yet to hear back.


Rocketman, the Elton John biopic, is filming in Camden and needs help finding a location. “I will be scouting round the area and would be happy to pop by and have a look,” a letter sent to locals from the location manager explains. Hopefully they’ll leave it still standing.


FOOD critic Jay Rayner hosted the MHP Communications 30 to Watch awards on Wednesday. He reminisced about editing the Leeds student magazine in the Eighties. Conscious of fears over Aids, he decided to offer free condoms with every issue. The printers pondered how to attach them to the mag. How did it they do it? They used a pin.

Gandy reveals he's fashioning a new role as he wings it at polo bash

David Gandy and Stephanie Mendoros (Photo Dave Benett/Getty Images)
David Gandy and Stephanie Mendoros (Photo Dave Benett/Getty Images)

David Gandy is stepping behind the camera. The model, who walked in the Olympics opening ceremony alongside Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, has announced a new string to his bow: he is directing a series of films to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the RAF. He has also been keeping busy by appearing at The Oxford Union earlier this week, where he looked back on his long career and criticised brands that appropriate other cultures in their designs.

But all work and no play makes David a dull boy, and last night he and his girlfriend, criminal lawyer Stephanie Mendoros, were at Casa Cruz in Notting Hill for Cartier’s launch of the polo season. Lady Mary Charteris, fashion designer Alice Temperley and models Amy Jackson and Neelam Gill joined the fun. Polo star Adolfo Cambiaso, the 10-goal legend regarded as the world’s greatest player, was among the Argentinian horsemen who came along for a drink.


DOUZE points to Philip Hammond (below). Yesterday he spoke at the European Business Summit in Brussels. “Sixty-two years ago today — as a war-torn Europe rebuilt itself — countries across our continent came together to form a positive vision of a tolerant, free Europe where talent and hard work was recognised and established a new pan-European partnership,” he said. “I am not speaking about the Treaty of Rome, or the formation of the European Economic Community... but of the first Eurovision Song Contest.”


Liam Fox, the International Trade Minister was pictured last night with Paul Ryan, the US Republican Speaker of the House. Ryan wrote: “We stand ready to forge a new trade agreement with Great Britain as soon as possible.” Great news, although we won’t be able to sign trade deals, in theory, until March 2019. Ryan is stepping down in January.

Quote of the day

‘I’m sure lots of people will throw their hats in the ring for that. I think I will be one of them.’ Kirsty Wark tells Good Housekeeping that she has her eye on David Dimbleby’s Question Time chair

The wild antics that escaped Fox’s gaze

Foxy lady: Emilia Fox (Photo Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Foxy lady: Emilia Fox (Photo Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Boris Johnson isn’t the only one to have been pranked. Actor Emilia Fox endured it while filming Silent Witness.

“For my birthday, the regulars all dressed up in animal costumes and were dancing through the set to that song What the Fox Says,” she told us at last night’s launch of Four Seasons Residences London at Ten Trinity Square. “Then the whole crew seemed to have a rave in the studio, but I didn’t notice it at all: when I’m doing post-mortem scenes I’m really focused.”

Indeed Fox realised only when she was shown a video of her working away oblivious to the commotion.

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