Saturday 10 December 2016

Former Pirelli model yet to receive a penny of record €89m divorce settlement

Patrick Sawyer

Published 09/08/2016 | 14:45

Christina Estrada arrives at the High Court in London earlier this month
Christina Estrada arrives at the High Court in London earlier this month

A former supermodel who won a €89 million award in a divorce battle with her Saudi billionaire ex-husband has yet to receive a penny of the record settlement.

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Sheikh Walid Juffali (61) was ordered to pay Christina Estrada the lump sum - the largest "needs" pay-out ever made by an English court - by 4pm on Friday July 29.

However, Dr Juffali died in a Zurich clinic from cancer a week before the payment was due.

Read More: Saudi billionaire dies weeks after model ex-wife granted €89 million in divorce settlement

Miss Estrada’s solicitors returned to the High Court on Tuesday to inform Mrs Justice Roberts - who had earlier said she awarded the lump sum to reflect the "exorbitant standard of living" and "magical" lifestyle enjoyed by their client - that the money had not been received.

Charles Howard QC, representing Miss Estrada, added that she had no “periodical payment or interest.”

But Justice Roberts said there was no need to issue an enforcement order at this stage, as she was confident that Dr Juffali’s estate will eventually pay up.

She said: “I continue to stress that Dr Juffali engaged with this process though out his life time and following his death, the legal representative likely to be instructed for his estate has also engaged to the extent they have sent the court an extremely courteous letter. I hope we will get this sorted out without the need for further litigation."

There had been fears that Miss Estrada would be faced with the prospect of suing her own 13-year-old daughter, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, as well as her stepdaughters, Dina and Halla, in order to get her hands on her award.

Miss Estrada, 54, had demanded €226 million from Dr Juffali, 61, to meet her "reasonable needs", sparking one of the most acrimonious divorce cases fought in the High Court.

Dr Juffali had tried to dodge the hearings by claiming diplomatic immunity, having been appointed permanent representative to the International Maritime Organisation by St Lucia, the Caribbean island state.

Their 12-year marriage collapsed in 2012 when Dr Juffali married a Lebanese television presenter, 32 years his junior while still wedded to Miss Estrada. The marriage was allowed under Islamic law.

Miss Estrada prompted ridicule with her own extravagant demands, which included €135,000 a year for handbags; €53,000 a year for Wimbledon and Ascot tickets; and €1.17 million a year for clothes including €46,000 for fur coats and €97,000 for cocktail dresses.

Justice Roberts ruled on July 9 that, even though some of the former Pirelli calendar girl's claims were inflated and needed pruning, she was nevertheless entitled to a lump sum of €89m to meet her future needs "as she moves into an independent life outside her marriage".

The legal battle left Ms Estrada with a total, including her own assets, of some €87 million once she receives the lump sum.

Dr Juffali’s representatives will be informed that unless the settlement is paid a further hearing will take place in October to determine whether an enforcement order is required.

A spokesman for Miss Estrada, who lives in Britain but is currently on holiday with her daughter in the United States, said: "This is a difficult time for the whole family and Christina Estrada is grateful for the continual support of Walid Juffali's extended family. Mrs Justice Roberts said she hoped and expected that this would be quickly resolved and we concur with this view."

At the settlement hearing last month, as well as the €89 million, Ms Estrada was given a Mini Clubman, a Lamborghini or a sum to equivalent value and €187,000 for a top of the range Range Rover.

The judge also ruled a blue diamond ring, worth €4.6 million, should be given back to Ms Estrada by her ex-husband. As part of the settlement she was awarded a housing fund of €21million to pay for a new home, once she moves out of the couple's family home, Bishopsgate House, near Windsor.

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