LONDON: An English court awarded an American model 53 million pounds ($68 million) on Friday in a divorce settlement with a wealthy Saudi businessman.
Christina Estrada went to The High Court in London after Sheikh Walid Juffali took a second wife and divorced her under Islamic law in 2014. Estrada sought 196 million pounds to meet her “reasonable needs” — including one million pounds a year for clothes.
After a five-day hearing, Justice Jennifer Roberts gave her a lesser sum, but her lawyers say it is by far the largest “needs award” ever made by an English court, dwarfing the 2008 divorce in which former Beatle Paul McCartney handed over 24 million pounds to ex-wife Heather Mills.
There have been pricier divorce settlements in Britain, but none with as big a “needs award” — a payment for the ex-spouse’s living costs. Estrada, 54, who lives in Britain, said “the spectacular life Walid and I led was immensely fortunate and rarefied.” “I fully understand how this can be perceived in the wider world,” she said.
Her claim included a request for 40,000 pounds toward fur coats and 21,000 pounds for shoes every year.
The former Pirelli calendar model argued that she was entitled to an amount which would allow her to maintain her ultra-wealthy lifestyle, five cars and luxury homes in London and Beverly Hills. Juffali, who is 61 and suffering from terminal cancer, said in a written statement that his wealth amounts to 113.8 million pounds, not the billions estimated by Estrada’s lawyers.
He added that he was planning to leave his fortune to his children, including his teenage daughter with Estrada. Juffali’s lawyers called the amount “astonishing” and that anything more “would drive this case into fantasy territory.” Juffali was ordered to pay the full amount by July 29.