Christina Estrada has won the right to fight for a share of ex-husband Sheikh Walid Juffali’s (right) fortune after the Court of Appeal rejected his claim that he was entitled to diplomatic immunity
Former super model CAN fight for slice of her Saudi ex-husband’s £4billion fortune after judge threw out his ‘spurious’ claim for diplomatic immunity
‘claims the Saudi divorce was obtained without her knowledge and she has no chance of pursuing him for any financial settlement in his Saudi homeland.’
Christina Estrada, 53, wins court battle to fight for slice of ex’s fortune, Sheikh Walid Juffali’s claim of diplomatic immunity thrown out by judge. Court of Appeal upheld decision made in High Court last month
Former Pirelli calendar model Christina Estrada today won her Court of Appeal battle to fight for the right for a share of her former husband’s £4billion fortune.
Three Appeal Court judges unanimously upheld the decision of Family Division judge Mr Justice Hayden in February when he rejected 60-year-old International businessman Sheikh Walid Juffali’s bid to reject her claim on the basis that he was entitled to diplomatic immunity.
The judge ruled that his claim was ‘spurious’ and that he had sought and obtained a diplomatic appointment with the sole intention of defeating 53-year-old Ms Estrada’s claim.
Neither the former supermodel or her ex-husband were in court for the ruling.
Her solicitor Frances Hughes said after the original ruling: ‘Mr Justice Hayden has found that Dr Al-Juffali sought diplomatic immunity with the sole intention of defeating my client’s claims.
‘The issue of the abuse of diplomatic immunity is one with profound international importance, and my client is grateful to the judge for his clear findings in her case.
‘Nevertheless, all my client seeks is an appropriate and fair financial settlement for herself and the parties’ daughter.’
But Dr Juffali’s solicitors Mischcon de Reya said he found the judgment ‘deeply offensive not least in its conclusion that his appointment to the International Maritime Organisation is an artifice.’
They said he was ‘proud to serve’ as St. Lucia’s Permanent Representative to the IMO.
It came as Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond criticised the original High Court decision and said it ‘should not be endorsed or upheld’.
According to the Guardian, the Foreign Office said the ruling would mean British diplomats could be hauled before the courts in any country in which they are serving and have their roles ‘scrutinised, and their status unjustifiably curtailed’.
Ms Estrada (left ) claims her ex-husband obtained their divorce in Saudi Arabia without her knowledge
The Foreign Office submitted an opinion from Tim Eicke QC backing the Saudi billionaire in the case, arguing the High Court judge ‘made a mistake’ in trying to determine whether Dr Juffali was a diplomat and said only the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had that power.
Dr Juffali divorced London based Ms Estrada in Saudi Arabia after 13 years of marriage. They have a 13-year-old daughter. He is said to be seriously ill with cancer in a Swiss hospital.
Ms Estrada could get a multi-million pound settlement from her financial claims in London.
She says he has properties in the UK including the 10 bedroom former home Bishopsgate House, set in 40 acres next to Windsor Great Park and worth around £100 million.
He is also said to own a £41 million property in Wilton Place, Kensington and Chelsea and a substantial property in Devon.
Ms Estrada claims the Saudi divorce was obtained without her knowledge and she has no chance of pursuing him for any financial settlement in his Saudi homeland.
Dr Juffali claims he has already made ‘generous’ provision for his former wife and teenage daughter including a property in Beverly Hills, California.
He claims he pays her 100,000 US dollars – £70,700 – a month and meets all of the expenses of their daughter.
The couple met in London in 2000 and began a relationship and married in Dubai in December 2001.
She began divorce proceedings against him in England alleging adultery in 2013. But he then divorced her in Saudi Arabia in 2014.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond criticised the original decision to throw out the diplomatic immunity claim
She alleged his claim to diplomatic status was a ‘flag of convenience’ and a ‘contrivance’ in a bid to defeat her claim.
The court previously heard her claim she cannot manage with only one butler and two maids.
At the High Court hearing Ms Estrada said Dr Juffali had cut the number of staff at her £100m mansion house near Windsor Castle.
She is also demanding that he urgently hand over a £10m blue diamond ring because she believes the billionaire is seriously ill in hospital in Switzerland.
In the previous verdict Mr Justice Hayden said: ‘I am satisfied that what has transpired here is that husband has sought and obtained a diplomatic appointment with the sole intention of defeating the wife’s claims consequent on the breakdown of their marriage.
Estrada says ex Walid Juffali cut back on funding for upkeep of their UK estate
‘The husband has not, in any real sense, taken up his appointment, nor has he discharged any responsibilities in connection with it. It is an entirely artificial construct.
‘There is no evidence that the husband has any knowledge or experience of maritime matters, seaborne trade, shipping or indeed of any of the specialised areas with which the IMO is concerned.
‘It is clear that since his appointment the husband has not undertaken any duties of any kind in the pursuit of functions of office.’
He said the appointment coincided with the emergent relationship between the husband and his third
Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson sitting with Lady Justice king and Lord Justice Hamblen dismissed his appeal and refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
But he could still appeal direct to the highest court in the land.
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