ST. HELEN’S STAR – The divorce cash demands of the ex-wife of a Saudi billionaire “are firmly in ‘gasp’ territory”, a judge has heard.
According to documents before the judge, Christina Estrada is seeking “a quarter of a billion pounds just to meet her own needs”.
The former Pirelli calendar girl is due to put her full claim against Sheikh Walid Juffali, with whom she had a daughter, before High Court family judge Mrs Justice Roberts at a five-day hearing later this month, starting on June 24.
A preliminary hearing in London has revealed that the legal battle will involve an analysis of what sum Ms Estrada, 54, is entitled to in order to help her maintain her ultra-luxurious lifestyle following the end of her 13-year-marriage to Dr Juffali, 61.
Justin Warshaw QC, appearing for Dr Juffali, described her schedule of demands as “an extraordinary document – to describe her budget without resort to hyperbole is quite difficult. We are firmly in ‘gasp’ territory.”
A massive legal costs bill has already been run up after Dr Juffali claimed he was entitled to immunity from his ex-wife’s claim because of his diplomatic status as a permanent representative to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) of the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.
The Court of Appeal ruled he was entitled to diplomatic immunity, but as he was permanently resident in the UK he was not immune from legal action as the divorce claim did not relate to the exercise of his diplomatic duties.
Dr Juffali, who now suffers from advanced lung cancer, divorced Ms Estrada in Saudi Arabia in September 2014 via the Muslim “talaq” process. They had married in September 2001.
She obtained leave under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984, which relates to overseas divorces, to make an application for financial relief in the family courts in London because she could not bring a case in Saudi Arabia .
Dr Juffali’s lawyers have proposed a settlement in which Ms Estrada would receive an overall award they estimate is worth £32m.
But they say in court documents his ex-wife claims she “needs”, on the face of it, a “striking, excessive and exaggerated” £238m in addition to her own assets of about £16m.
Her claim includes up to £68m for a London property ranging between 10,700 sq ft – on seven floors – up to 12,650 sq ft.
It also includes £4.4m for a Henley property – plus £495,000 for three cars in London and two in Beverly Hills, California.
She is also seeking £1.05m for art, as well as maintenance payments of £6.52m a year.