The son of an oligarch fled to Russia instead of facing questions in a London court over claims he helped his father to hide nearly £453 million ($607.6m) owed to his mother after the UK's largest divorce settlement.
Temur Akhmedov, 27, is being sued by his mother Titiana Akhmedova in London but told a judge over video link on Wednesday that he travelled to Russia at the weekend because he was stressed and scared.
Ms Akhmedova claims her billionaire Russian former husband, Farkhad Akhmedov, transferred cash and assets to their eldest son to avoid paying a divorce settlement awarded by a London court in 2016. The two men deny the claims.
She has so far received only £5m of the settlement and her former husband has not “voluntarily paid a penny”, according to court documents.
Temur had been due to fly to London from Dubai for the case, but instead travelled to Russia and was staying at his sister's home, The Guardian reported.
He has a £30m apartment in London but claimed he was unable to live there because it was being used as collateral for a loan to pay his legal fees.
“I got stressed. I got scared,” Temur said on what was supposed to be the first day of a trial. “I’m 27, but I’m being sued by my mother.”
Judge Gwynneth Knowles said she would consider postponing the hearing until next week to allow him to obtain a loan to pay his lawyers.
“I expect you to get on a plane and come to London,” she told him.
A US judge last month ordered Google to hand over Temur’s emails to his mother as part of her legal campaign.
She previously won the right to search his London flat that netted nearly 50 electronic devices owned by her son.
Her hunt for assets spanned at least six countries but mostly centred on a superyacht, Luna, moored in Dubai.
Farkhad Akhmedov transferred the yacht and an art collection worth a combined £450m to trusts in Liechtenstein to prevent his wife from enforcing her claim, a judge ruled.