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(Family Division; Mostyn J; 19 January 2012)
The Russian husband and wife had three children and were married for 16 years. The two younger children were privately educated, funded by monies held by the court because the husband had failed to comply with an interim court order for maintenance including school fees. The wife was currently living in a two bedroom flat following the repossession proceedings in respect of the matrimonial home.
The wife claimed the husband was worth at least £100m, the husband claimed he was destitute and only earned £150 per month in Russia. There were a number of findings that the husband was a serial non-discloser and determined to 'do his wife down by foul means'. The husband's business activity painted a picture of a man of considerable means extending to tens of millions of pounds. His recent business activity was way beyond that of a passive business investor as he asserted and an assessment valued his current wealth at £20-30m .
A post-nuptial agreement made in 2001 was highly disadvantageous to the wife and provided for $1.5m for her upon divorce, she did not receive any independent legal advice nor did she fully appreciate the rights she was foregoing by entering the agreement. There was no prior disclosure by the husband as to the extent of his wealth and the husband has failed to comply with the agreement by not paying anything for the children.
No weight to be given to the post-nuptial agreement. On a needs basis the wife required £8.3m including £2m for housing, on a sharing basis £12.5m, inclusive of the need component.
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