Wednesday 21 February 2018

Ex-calendar model wins record €88m 'needs award' in divorce

Christina Estrada has been awarded £75m in her divorce settlement Photo: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images
Christina Estrada has been awarded £75m in her divorce settlement Photo: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

David Blair

Christina Estrada, the former Pirelli calendar model, has been awarded £75m (€88m) against her billionaire ex-husband, the largest "needs award" arising from a divorce in English legal history.

Ms Estrada won the amount, which includes a £53m (€62m) cash settlement, against Walid Juffali, a Saudi businessman.

The settlement was boosted by approximately £22m (€26m) in assets, which include gifts from Mr Juffali that Ms Estrada is now able to keep. The total is less than half of the £196m (€230m) she had sought from Mr Juffali.

A statement from Ms Estrada's lawyers said: "The judge accepted that Walid Juffali and Christina Estrada had lived an extraordinary and exorbitant life and that this should be reflected if not replicated in the award."

Justin Warshaw QC, representing Mr Juffal (61) asked the judge to give his client until the end of this year to pay Ms Estrada.

"You have got to give him months to pay," said Mr Warshaw. "It's going to take him months and months to raise this kind of money. It's not a case of writing a cheque." Mrs Justice Roberts gave Mr Juffali until 4pm on July 29 to comply.

Ms Estrada, who has lived in the UK since 1988, said she was "very grateful for today's ruling", adding: "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." As for the size of her financial award, Ms Estrada said: "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."

Ms Estrada said she needed the money to maintain the lifestyle to which she and her daughter are accustomed

The figure is said to have included a significant amount for clothing, three properties including staff and a number of vehicles.

Mr Juffali had initially offered Ms Estrada £37m (€43m) including the use of properties in Beverley Hills and London.


The award to Estrada is the latest in a series of big money divorce cases to pass through the High Court.

In 2014, the same judge, Mrs Justice Roberts, awarded Jamie Cooper-Hohn, the estranged wife of financier Sir Chris Hohn, £337m (€395m). At the time, legal experts said that was "certainly" one of the highest made in the UK, but there may have been even bigger payouts which have not been made public.

Of those which did get into the news, it was reported in 2011 that Galina Besharova, former wife of the late Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, had agreed to accept between £165m (€194m) and £220m (€258m) as part of a settlement.

Confirmed then as the "largest award ever", it superseded the previous record of £48m (€56m) awarded to Beverley Charman, the ex-wife of insurance magnate John Charman in 2006.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News