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Dubai court dismisses tycoon’s $115m claim for superyacht

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Dubai’s highest court has dismissed a $115 million damages claim filed as part of a high-profile and costly divorce case in the UK. The Dubai Court of Cassation has rejected claims that the arrest of the £350 million (Dh1.67 billion) superyacht Luna in Dubai in February 2018 had been unlawful. It ruled that claims for alleged damages are baseless.

The court ruled that the challenge filed by Russian tycoon Farkhad Akhmedov on the judgements pronounced by two lower courts shall be deemed “groundless”.

Farkhad Akhmedov and Straight Establishment – the current registered owner of the superyacht Luna – initially brought the claim against his ex-wife Tatiana Akhmedova in January 2020.

In the lawsuit, it was alleged that the Luna’s arrest had been unlawful and thus the claim sought a “loss of opportunity and moral damages” in excess of $115 million. It argued that the vessel could have been given for hire during this period.

The ruling of the top court, which Khaleej Times has received a copy of, reads: “The trial court … has rightly concluded denying the abuse of the right in the appellant’s litigation and that it was not intended to harm him … Therefore, the challenge on the appealed judgment shall be deemed groundless.”

The appellant had requested an order to compel the respondents to jointly pay the amount with an annual interest of 12 per cent.

In August, Dubai’s highest court dismissed an appeal by the tycoon’s ex-wife to seize the superyacht. The legal battle over the Luna comes within a £453 million divorce settlement seen as the UK’s largest divorce action. As per the UK court order, the billionaire was to pay £453 million to his ex-wife. He was directed to cede the 377-ft yacht to her after reportedly failing to comply with the court order.

The Luna has two helipads, nine decks, one mini submarine, a 50-member crew, a large outdoor entertaining area, 10 VIP guest cabins, a swimming pool and a spa. It also has an anti-drone system for privacy.

It remains moored in Port Rashid, Dubai, subject to injunctions obtained in the Marchall Islands and England, which prevent the transfer of the ownership of the vessel or its removal from its current location. Proceedings to determine the rightful ownership of the yacht are ongoing in the Marchall Islands.

Case file: The Dh1.67 billion Luna superyacht

>December 2016: (England): The superyacht Luna is identified as part of disputed marital assets of the couple’s (Farkhad Akhmedov and Tatiana Akhmedova) divorce legal battle in the UK

>February 2018: The Luna is impounded at Port Rashid, Dubai

>March 2018: The Luna is allowed to set sail from Dubai port as court lifts arrest warrant. But the yacht’s fate still undetermined

>July 2018: The Luna’s case is referred by the DIFC court to the Dubai Sharia Court

>November 2018: Dubai Court of Appeals rules to maintain arrest warrant on the Luna

>December 2018: Tatiana Akhmedova seizes and sells a helicopter for about ?5 million. The helicopter was previously used for traveling to and from the Luna

>April 2019: Farkhad Akhmedov files $115 million damages claim

>January 2020: Akhmedov’s claim dismissed by the Court of Misdemeanors

>May 2020: Court of Appeals upholds the order (dismissal of the claim)

>August 2020: Dubai’s highest court dismisses an appeal by the tycoon’s ex-wife to seize the Luna

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