Billionaire denies marrying ‘wife’ of 14 years

family law

A billionaire London property mogul has claimed that he and his wife of 14 years were never legally married.

The couple divorced last November but the 50 year-old husband now wants the decision reversed for this reason. He told the High Court that his ‘marriage’ was based on a false certificate the couple used to secure a passport for a child they adopted.

His legal counsel argued that while the wife had insisted they married in a Muslim ceremony in the small southern African nation of Malawi back in 2002, no such ceremony took place. Their marriage document was nothing more than a “certificate of convenience” he claimed.

However his ex-wife maintained that these assertions were only being made to deny her “any entitlement” to the man’s £1.1 billion fortune. The QC representing her claimed she only wanted a “fair share” of it. The husband’s empire includes large portions of London’s famous West End as well as several other exclusive properties throughout the capital.

The wife’s lawyer said she was “entitled to … rely on the presumption of marriage and the facts that the parties presented to the world for the totality of the period between 2002 and their separation”. The burden of proof was on the husband to demonstrate that this was not the case, the QC told the Court.

The case is still in its very early stages and could go on for quite some time. It could end up being one of the biggest cases dealing with the legality of a marriage the High Court has heard.

Photo of London’s West End by Steve Collis via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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