Russian tycoon’s ex criticised by London judge for ‘costly and destructive’ divorce fight with £9m bill
A wealthy Russian businesswoman’s ex-husband has come under fire from a London judge who oversaw a “costly and destructive” divorce fight.
Sir Jonathan Cohen said Alla Rakshina, 42, and ex-husband Lazaros Xanthopoulos, 43, ran up lawyers’ bills of nearly £9 million as disputes over jurisdiction, money and children featured in more than 60 hearings in Russia and England.
The judge said all the bills had been paid by Ms Rakshina, a boss in a family supermarket business in Russia.
He said there had been a “grossly exorbitant use of the court’s time and Ms Rakshina’s money” which had been “contributed to in significant part” by Mr Xanthopoulos’s “failure to comply with court directions”.
Sir Jonathan said that in the divorce and money proceedings alone, Mr Xanthopoulos had been represented by “no less” than seven firms of solicitors – one of which was instructed on two separate occasions – 12 senior barristers and “an array” of junior barristers.
The judge aired his concerns in a written ruling after overseeing a recent trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
Mr Xanthopoulos, who was born in Russia but moved to Greece as a child, had asked for money from Ms Rakshina, who comes from Siberia, after the breakdown of a marriage of about 15 years.
The judge heard that the couple had spent time in Russia and London when married.
He said Ms Rakshina had assets of nearly £13 million, exclusive of her company interests, and owned property in Russia and England.
Mr Xanthopoulos, who described himself as a “house-husband”, had “no assets of any significance that I know of”, the judge said.
Sir Jonathan approved Ms Rakshina’s offers of a housing fund of more than £500,000, and £60,000-a-year in maintenance for four years.
The judge said the legal costs were “beyond any reasonable comprehension”.
He said Ms Rakshina and Mr Xanthopoulos had each run up legal bills of more than £4 million.
Sir Jonathan said the litigation had “spun further and further out of control” and over a period of about 30 months, the pair had been “engaged in some of the most costly and destructive litigation imaginable”.
“The total costs of their litigation about jurisdiction, children and money are now approaching £9 million,” said the judge.
“Every penny of this has been funded by Ms Rakshina.
“This grossly exorbitant use of the court’s time and Ms Rakshina’s money has been contributed to in significant part by Mr Xanthopoulos’s failure to comply with court directions.”
The judge said Mr Xanthopoulos had “breached nearly every order that has been made”.
He added: “I have not the slightest doubt that this litigation would never have been conducted by Mr Xanthopoulos in the way that it has been if he was paying his costs from his own pocket.”
Press Association – Brian Farmer