Husband threatened me with 'house arrest', wife tells court
An Irish woman embroiled in a divorce court fight with her wealthy estranged Iranian husband has told a London High Court judge that she was threatened with "house arrest" at their home in Dubai after having an affair.
Businessman Mehrdad Radseresht (72) says that Barbara Spain-Radseresht, who is 49 and used to work in the travel industry, agreed to a divorce when they lived in the Middle East more than seven years ago.
Mrs Spain-Radseresht, who comes from Dublin and now lives in London, disputes his claim and says she is entitled to a fair share of a marital fortune she says runs into tens of millions.
A High Court judge has been asked to make decisions about the validity of the marriage.
Mr Justice Cohen is analysing evidence at a public hearing in the family division of the High Court in London. He said the couple could be named.
Mr Radseresht says they had reached a divorce settlement agreement in Dubai in 2009 after Mrs Spain-Radseresht was unfaithful. Mrs Spain-Radseresht says she was tricked into signing paperwork.
She said she only found out about the "alleged Dubai divorce" a year ago when she made a separate divorce application.
The judge was told a private investigator discovered that Mrs Spain-Radseresht was having an affair in 2009.
Mrs Spain-Radseresht said yesterday that her husband threatened "house arrest" and dragged her around by her hair after learning of the affair.
She told the judge: "This was a terrifying experience."
But she said they had "started afresh" and moved to London.
She said Mr Radseresht was "always abusive".
"He gets very angry, then he gets very nice," she added.
"I am very used to him changing from being very, very nasty to very, very nice."
Mr Radseresht denies Mrs Spain-Radseresht's abuse allegations. He shook his head at the back of the court as she gave evidence.
Mr Justice Cohen has heard how the couple had lived in Dubai, Iran, London and California.
Mrs Spain-Radseresht also told of "two palaces" in Iran with a combined value of more than £5m (€4.5m) and a home in Ireland.
In 2005, a former United States ambassador to Somalia praised Mr Radseresht as a "fearless" businessman in an American newspaper article.
Dan Simpson told how in 1994 Mr Radseresht wanted to revive Somalian banana cultivation and exports.
Mr Simpson wrote in the 'Pittsburgh Post-Gazette': "This is a man with courage, imagination and a sharp eye for spotting a promising business opportunity.
"He is also an example of the best kind of American businessman - one who never loses sight of the well-being of the producers.
"May the Mehrdads of this world be fruitful and multiply. America needs them."
The hearing continues, and is expected to end later this week.