The son of a Russian oligarch at the centre of the UK's biggest divorce case was ordered to pay his mother more than $100 million on Wednesday, after a judge ruled he had done "all he could" to keep his father's money from her.
In 2016, billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov was ordered to pay his ex-wife Tatiana Akhmedova more than $627m in a landmark divorce case involving a 115-metre yacht that is currently in Dubai.
But the High Court in London found on Wednesday that Ms Akhmedova had been the victim of a series of schemes involving her son Temur Akhmedov, which were "designed to put every penny of the husband's wealth beyond her reach".
Judge Gwynneth Knowles described Temur Akhmedov as a "dishonest individual who will do anything to assist his father".
“He was, indeed, his father’s lieutenant,” said the judge in a 126-page ruling.
“Temur has learnt 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.”
Quoting from Russian author Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, the judge said: "All happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
“With apologies to Tolstoy, the Akhmedov family is one of the unhappiest ever to have appeared in my courtroom.”
Temur Akhmedov was ordered to pay three separate sums to his mother – two in US dollars and one in Russian rubles – coming to a total of more than $100m.
The son claimed he had not hidden his father's money from his mother, but had lost it through bad trading investments.
He said he had lost more than $50m in trading after hitting a losing streak while studying at the London School of Economics.
Convinced that his losses were merely bad luck, he tried to recoup the money, increased his risk exposure and lost everything, he told the court.
But the judge rejected Temur Akhmedov's explanation that his mother knew about the trading, and said the transfer of millions of dollars from his father's account was designed to put the money out of Ms Akhmedova's reach.
The fact that he then racked up massive losses was beside the point, the judge said.
Temur Akhmedov said that while he disagreed with the ruling, "he would consider it a price worth paying should it lead to a reasonable settlement between the parents he loves".
His actions were “only ever motivated by his desire to end the war between his parents”, a spokesman for Temur Akhmedov said.
Ms Akhmedova said during the trial that her relationship with her eldest son "is now very strained".
She said she felt she had no choice but to sue him.
"Today's judgment is the inevitable conclusion given Farkhad's failure to behave honourably in the first instance," Ms Akhmedova said after the ruling.
“I always knew that my strength would prevail through the smoke and mirrors as presented by Farkhad and his circus of illusionists.”
Farkhad Akhmedov was dismissive of the ruling.
“Entirely predictably, given its original wrong and misguided judgment, the London court has ruled in favour of visiting ‘the sins’ of the father on an innocent and loyal son,” he said.
Ms Akhmedova pursued cases in at least six countries against her Azerbaijan-born ex-husband, who made much of his wealth by selling his stake in a Russian gas producer for $1.4 billion in 2012.
The court was earlier told that Farkhad Akhmedov had transferred a yacht and art collection into the ownership of trusts in Liechtenstein in what his ex-wife described as a "strategy of evasion".
He bought the $450m yacht, the MV Luna, from Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich.
A Dubai court last year dismissed Farkhad Akhmedov's claim that his wife owed him damages after the yacht was impounded as part of the legal proceedings.
Farkhad Akhmedov sued for $115m in damages on the grounds that he was unable to charter out the MV Luna while it was impounded in Dubai.