Ex-model says claim for £196 mil­lion from her Saudi bil­lion­aire ex-hus­band is ‘not un­rea­son­able’

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL - By RICHARD SPILLETT and BEN WILKINSON

ASaudi bil­lion­aire laid a path of rose petals for his su­per­model sec­ond wife at an ex­clu­sive Lon­don bar while se­cretly plot­ting to marry an­other woman, the High Court has heard.

Sheik Walid Juf­fali – whose for­tune has been es­ti­mated at £4 bil­lion – put on the ‘won­der­fully ro­man­tic’ tenth an­niver­sary treat for for­mer Pirelli cal­en­dar girl Christina Estrada, 54.

But be­hind her back, he was ar­rang­ing a third mar­riage to a 22-year-old Le­banese model and tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter. Ms Estrada –who has a teenage daugh­ter with her ex-hus­band – has launched a £196 mil­lion di­vorce claim that may lead to one of the largest set­tle­ments in Bri­tish le­gal his­tory.

Lawyers for her ex­hus­band, 62, have branded her claim as ‘ex­ces­sive and firmly in gasp ter­ri­tory’. In a state­ment pre­sented in court this week, Ms Estrada said her hus­band had spoiled her in the months be­fore she found out he had mar­ried some­one else.

She said he had hired Harry’s Bar in Lon­don in Septem­ber 2011 on their wed­ding an­niver­sary. She added: “He ar­ranged for a pi­ano to be in­stalled and rose petals to be laid out guid­ing us from the street to our table.

“They served us a ten­course meal with a spe­cial ten­tiered cake. It was a won­der­fully ro­man­tic and, as usual with Walid, no ex­pense was spared. Walid also gave me a note say­ing he would give me $2 mil­lion as a present – al­though he did not ac­tu­ally pay me this sum.’

The bil­lion­aire’s ex-wife also re­vealed that, in Fe­bru­ary 2012, he threw a three-day cel­e­bra­tion in Abu Dhabi for her 50th birth­day.

She said: “It was a stun­ning party – there were 200 guests and Walid told me that the fire­works alone had cost a mil­lion dol­lars.”

Two days later, a friend told her that Dr Juf­fali had mar­ried model Lou­jain Adada. His lawyers ar­gue he is be­ing wrongly por­trayed as the vil­lain, and is largely re­spon­si­ble for Ms Estrada be­ing ‘a very wealthy woman’.

For­mer su­per­model Christina Estrada told a fam­ily judge at Lon­don’s High Court that the award she is seek­ing re­flects the standard of liv­ing she en­joyed dur­ing her mar­riage to Sheikh Walid Juf­fali.

But lawyers for the sheikh have de­scribed her post­mar­riage bud­get de­mands as ‘ex­ces­sive, ex­ag­ger­ated and firmly in gasp ter­ri­tory’.

In a case that could re­sult in one of the largest di­vorce awards in Bri­tish le­gal his­tory, Ms Estrada’s lawyers ar­gue the 61-year-old sheikh’s as­sets jus­tify her claim to cover her ‘rea­son­able needs’.

They con­tend Dr Juf­fali’s of­fer would leave Ms Estrada - his sec­ond wife and mother of one of his six chil­dren - some £37 mil­lion in cash and as­sets, and that was ‘clearly in­ad­e­quate’.

The sheikh’s lawyers es­ti­mate Dr Juf­fali’s wealth at over £648 mil­lion but Ms Estrada’s le­gal team say he is worth around £8 bil­lion. Ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments be­fore the court, Ms Estrada is seek­ing a ‘clean break’ award of over £196 mil­lion.

The ex-wife is also seek­ing a dec­la­ra­tion that she is the owner of a blue di­a­mond ring. Dr Juf­fali said he bought the ring for £3 mil­lion ($4mil­lion) as part of his col­lec­tion and it was not given to Ms Estrada, but he has now given it away to a third party.

The sheikh, an in­ter­na­tional busi­ness­man who is se­ri­ously ill with can­cer and un­der­go­ing treat­ment in Switzer­land, di­vorced Ms Estrada in Saudi Ara­bia in 2014 with­out her knowl­edge af­ter 13 years of mar­riage.

She ob­tained leave to ap­ply for fi­nan­cial re­lief in Eng­land be­cause she could not bring a case in Saudi Ara­bia.

Dr Juf­fali at­tempted to block her ap­pli­ca­tion on the grounds that he was en­ti­tled to le­gal im­mu­nity be­cause of his diplo­matic sta­tus as per­ma­nent rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­gan­i­sa­tion (IMO) of the Caribbean is­land of Saint Lu­cia. But the Court of Ap­peal ruled he was not im­mune as the di­vorce claim did not re­late to his diplo­matic du­ties.

Ms Estrada, seen on her way to court ear­lier this year, says her ex-hus­band has wealth of around £8bil­lion.

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