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