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Family Law Team - Family Legal Advice

Family Solicitors – Legal Advice

Family Solicitors – Legal Advice

Relationship Breakdown – Trust your divorce lawyer

The case of Tatiana Soroka and her ex-husband Farkhad Akhmedov is one which has been likened to Leo Tolstoy’s classic Russian novel Anna Karenina. “All happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,”


Tatiana Akhmedova (as she was then known) achieved one of the biggest divorce settlements in UK history in 2016 when she was awarded £453 million as her divorce settlement. This fortune included several luxury mansions, a superyacht called Luna, a helicopter, a private jet and an art collection including pieces by Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst.


In 2021 she took her ex-husband and his son Temur back to court accusing them both of hiding hundreds of millions in assets in order to avoid paying the blockbuster settlement awarded to her.  She alleged that her ex-husband transferred cash and assets to their son in order to avoid paying her the money. They denied the claims and say she was aware of the father-to-son gifts. However, the Court found in her favour with Temur being ordered to pay her £75 million and the judge preceding over the case stating he was “a dishonest individual who will do anything to assist his father…Temur has learned well from his father’s past conduct and has done and said all he could to prevent his mother receiving a penny of the matrimonial assets.”


Following this judgment (which came after a five-year quest to have her ex-husband’s assets seized) in July 2021 the couple announced they had come to a new private settlement, with Ms Soroka agreeing to take £100million in cash and £50million in artwork. From that she had to pay £74.6million to her financial backers, Burford Capital, over the failed asset hunt.


Now Tatiana Soroka is back in court only this time she is now suing the firm of solicitors who acted for her in the original financial divorce proceedings. Tatiana was represented in 2016 by Payne Hicks Beach (PHB) (the law firm established by Baroness Fiona Shackleton. Titiana is claiming that the firm acted ‘negligently’ by failing to help her seize her husband’s superyacht Luna.  Built for former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, the ten-deck floating palace is the world’s second-largest expedition yacht and has two helipads, a pool and mini submarine.


Tatiana’s case states that PHB failed to alert lawyers in Florida that Luna was moored in Miami and could be seized to help fulfil the settlement. Her legal claim, lodged in December 2023, states that she spoke to Baroness Shackleton and another PHB solicitor on the phone in January 2017 and told them that her ex was in Miami and so was his 377ft yacht. She is alleged to have asked them to ‘explore options in Miami’ for having the ‘extremely valuable’ Luna seized, given that its price had been put at around £200million.  She claims they did not do so adequately which resulted in her ex-husband being able to sail away without being impounded. Her claim states that if PHB had acted differently, there was a ‘very real likelihood’ she would have received the ‘full sum due’ under the original divorce settlement, or a significant proportion of it, and ‘now claims from PHB damages representing the value of that lost opportunity’.


PHB insists Ms Soroka’s claim is misconceived and says it remains proud of the deal it secured for her. A spokesman for PHB said: ‘Payne Hicks Beach remain proud of the result we achieved for Ms Soroka including the very significant award we obtained for her. A defence is being prepared which will set out the basis upon which we consider this claim to be legally and factually misconceived.’


Whilst many can only dream to have the level of assets this couple achieved before their marriage broken down, the important lesson here is that no matter what the value of marital assets, good communication between client and solicitor is fundamental in order to avoid any misunderstandings over what the client’s instructions are. It is also important that full financial disclosure and honest dealings are demonstrated between both parties so a fair settlement for both parties can be achieved in the quickest amount of time. Spouses can be worried about whether their ex is attempting to hide marital assets but this is usually not an easy thing to do and experienced family solicitors are armed with the necessary tools to uncover any assets which a spouse might be attempting to hide.


If you are experiencing a relationship breakdown and are unsure as to the level of assets you are entitled to, please book an initial consultation with one of our experienced family solicitors in our family law team today.

To contact our Family Law Solicitors in Ipswich at [email protected] or telephone 01473 213311Solicitors in Felixstowe at [email protected] on 01394 834557 or Solicitors in Colchester at [email protected] on 01206 584584.

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