THE TELEGRAPH – The High Court has ordered the Foreign Secretary to certify whether a Saudi billionaire facing legal action from his ex-wife has been accepted by Britain as a Caribbean diplomat representing St Lucia.
Walid Juffali, the chairman of one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest conglomerates, is the subject of a property claim from his divorced wife, Christina Estrada, a former Pirelli calendar model.
The Daily Telegraph disclosed last November that Mr Juffali had become St Lucia’s “permanent representative” to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London, a post that carries diplomatic immunity in Britain.
The High Court is considering whether Mr Juffali genuinely has legal immunity that would defeat Ms Estrada’s claim to a share of his fortune, which includes an estate in Windsor and a seven-bedroom home in a converted church in Knightsbridge.
Mr Justice Hayden issued an order on Wednesday for Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, to certify whether Britain had formally accepted Mr Juffali as a diplomat.
There is no record of Mr Juffali, 60, attending any meetings of the IMO since his appointment in April 2014, nor does he possess any known qualifications in shipping or maritime law.
Tim Owen QC, representing Ms Estrada, called Mr Juffali’s appointment “eccentric”, adding: “You have a very rich Saudi with no connection to St Lucia and no knowledge of maritime affairs ending up, surprise surprise, as St Lucia’s representative to the IMO at a time when he’s facing divorce proceedings from his second wife.”