Saturday 1 October 2016

Ex-supermodel wins £53m cash settlement in divorce battle with Saudi billionaire

John Aston and Cathy Gordon

Published 08/07/2016 | 11:03

Former supermodel Christina Estrada leaving the Royal Courts of Justice Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Former supermodel Christina Estrada leaving the Royal Courts of Justice Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

A former supermodel has been awarded a £53 million cash settlement in a High Court divorce money battle with her Saudi billionaire ex-husband.

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Christina Estrada, 54, was fighting for £196 million from international businessman Sheikh Walid Juffali, 61, to meet her "reasonable needs".

Her lawyers said the total settlement she is to receive, taking into account her own assets, is in the region of £75 million.

She rejected an offer which, added to her own assets, would have given her some £37 million to live on.

Her lawyers said the award of approximately £75 million is "by more than £50 million the largest needs award ever made by an English court".

Ms Estrada said in a statement: "I am very grateful for today's ruling. I have lived in the United Kingdom since 1988 and am thankful for access to the British courts."

Thanking her legal team for their help, she said: "I never wanted to be here. I always wanted to resolve the matter amicably.

"This process has been incredibly bruising and distressing.

"Walid and I were happily married for 12 years and have a beautiful daughter together. He took both a second wife and divorced me without my knowledge.

"His use of diplomatic immunity to try and prevent me from access to a legally binding settlement set a worrying precedent.

"Having grown up in a middle-class family and having enjoyed a successful career until my marriage, I am fully aware that the spectacular life Walid and I led was immensely fortunate and rarefied.

"And I fully understand how this can be perceived in the wider world.

"My focus now is to support my daughter and move forward with our lives. For her sake and the sake of our wider family, I hope we can now resolve matters sensibly."

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