Partners at Burford Capital, the City firm that backed the ex-wife of a Russian billionaire in her High Court divorce battle, have been paid £74.6m for their role in the high profile case.
The financier, which funds claimants in legal disputes with the aim of taking a cut of any settlement, told the London Stock Exchange this morning it had received “its full cash entitlement… in respect of the Akhmedov matter”.
The company revealed it expects the case will add £14.5m to operating profits this year.
Burford Capital is one of a number of litigation funding firms who have grown in recent years as class action lawsuits become more common in the UK.
Rival Therium Litigation Funding is currently backing a group of pension funds and asset managers who will find out this week if they can form a group to launch proceedings against several big banks for allegedly fixing foreign exchange rates.
Former Pensions Regulator Michael O’Higgins is leading the legal action, which could see a payout of £1bn to customers who lost out.
Akhmedova vs Akhmedova
Burford funded Tatiana Akhmedova through London’s High Court, where a judge granted a divorce payout of about £450m.
From Russia but living in London, she was awarded a 41.5 per cent share of ex-husband Farkhad Akhmedov’s £1bn-plus fortune by Mr Justice Haddon-Cave in late 2016.
Akhmedov did not pay and Akhmedova took legal action in Britain and abroad in a bid to trace and seize his assets.
In preparation for the case, Ms Akhmedova said she has employed an asset recovery team, which includes former members of the Royal Navy’s Special Boat Service.
In May her spokesman revealed assets worth millions of pounds, including a helicopter and speedboat, had been recovered.
At the time, the spokesman said Ms Akhmedova also thought she was in a position to lay claim to a superyacht, the Luna, which is worth more than £200m and moored in Dubai.
He said a court ruling in the Marshall Islands, where the yacht is registered, had paved the way for the ownership to be transferred.
A spokesman for Mr Akhmedov disagreed. He said a court ruling in Dubai prevented Ms Akhmedova seizing the yacht.
Mr Akhmedov said that, because he and his ex-wife are not British and were not married in Britain, a British judge should not have made a decision about money.
Earlier this year, another London High Court judge concluded that Ms Akhmedova had been a victim of a “series of schemes” designed to put “every penny” beyond her reach.
Mrs Justice Gwynneth Knowles, who has overseen recent litigation, concluded that her ex-husband and eldest son, Temur Akhmedov, had worked against her together. She said Temur Akhmedov had been his father’s “lieutenant”.
The judge said very large sums had been transferred to Temur Akhmedov and ruled that he must pay his mother around £75m.