Family Law Hub

AAZ v BBZ & Ors [2016] EWHC 3361 (Fam)

The court ruled that all dispositions of a £90 million Modern Art Collection and the financial assets of a limited company to two financial organisations should be set aside because they formed part of the latest scheme by the husband to hide his assets. This meant that at all material times those assets vested in the husband and continue to do so and therefore remain immediately available for the enforcement of the financial remedy order in favour of the wife.

  • This judgment was delivered in private. The judge directs that this anonymised version of the judgment may be published. No report may identify the parties.

    Case No: FD13D05340

    Neutral Citation Number: [2016] EWHC 3361 (Fam)



    Royal Courts of Justice

    Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

    Date: 20/12/2016

    Before :


    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Between :

    AAZ (Applicant)

    - and -

    BBZ (Respondent)

    C LTD (2nd Respondent)

    P LTD (3rd Respondent)

    O 1 (4th Respondent)

    O 2 (5th Respondent)

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Mr Nigel Dyer QC, Mr Dakis Hagen and Mr Henry Clayton of Counsel (instructed by Payne Hicks Beach) for the Applicant

    Mr Justin Warshaw QC (instructed by Solicitors) for S on 15 & 16 December 2016

    The Respondents were not present or represented

    Hearing dates: 29 and 30 November 2016, 2, 5 and 15, 16 & 20 December 2016

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


    Mr Justice Haddon-Cave:

    This is a short judgment given in order to deal with recent developments in this matter.

    1. In my judgment dated 15th December 2016 (citation number [2016] EWHC 3234 (Fam)) I granted AAZ ('W') financial relief in respect of her divorce from the respondent BBZ ('H') in the sum of £453,576,152. I set out the factual background to H's financial affairs in paragraph 66 onwards. I summarised the relationship of H to the second and third respondents, C Ltd and P Ltd. In paragraph 92 onwards, I explained why the March 2015 disposition fell to be considered under s.37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and s.423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 as a disposition at an undervalue designed to put H's assets beyond the reach of W and/or in order to prejudice her interests. For the reasons given in my judgment, I ordered that the relevant transactions relating to the March 2015 disposition should be reversed, re-vesting the assets in question in H.

    2. On 15th December 2016, following the handing down of the judgment, H's personal lawyer, S, attended court pursuant to a witness summons. S gave evidence and was cross-examined by counsel for W, Mr Dyer QC, in relation to two matters in particular: firstly, the collection of modern art, secondly, P Ltd's portfolios of cash and other financial assets (see my judgment of 15th December 2016 passim). In the course of cross-examination, S revealed that both the modern art collection and P Ltd's assets had been transferred by H from a central European country to another European country in November, shortly before the commencement of the ancillary relief trial before me on 29th November 2016.

    3. S, under cross-examination, revealed details of which entities in the European country now held the modern art collection and P Ltd's assets. He named an entity called 'O 1', a financial institution, and a bank called 'L Bank' in the same European country as now holding these assets. As I explained in my ruling in relation to S's evidence dated 20th December 2016 (citation number [2016] EWHC 3349 (Fam)), the recent transfer of the modern art collection and P Ltd's assets to the European country appears to be another deliberate attempt by H to hide his assets and prevent enforcement of this court's orders in relation to W's claim.

    4. Recent investigations have been carried out by W's advisors in the European country which have revealed that there are two 'O' financial institutions in the European country called "O 1" and "O 2" financial institutions, both of which were established on the same date, 21st October 2016, by X Trust, the European country. I infer, as I am invited to, that "O 1" and "O 2" are closely connected, and form part of the latest scheme by H to hide his assets.

    5. There is no evidence that P Ltd was paid any consideration for the transfer from the entity holding the modern art collection and P Ltd's financial assets in the central European country to "O 1" or "O 2". It is quite apparent that this transfer was at an undervalue, or a nil value, and was simply the latest part of H's attempts to avoid his liabilities by purporting to transfer his assets to new entities in a new jurisdiction and thereby making enforcement more difficult.

    6. For similar reasons given in my judgment dated 15th December 2016, in particular paragraph 66 onwards, I find that "O 1" and "O 2" are no more than ciphers and the alter ego of H. For these reasons, I order that all dispositions of the modern art collection and P Ltd's financial assets to "O 1" and/or "O 2" in or around November 2016 are set aside, so that at all material times those assets vest in H and continue to do so. In those circumstances, those assets remain immediately available for the aforesaid enforcement of the judgment of this Court granting W ancillary financial relief in the sum set out in my order dated 20th December 2016.

Judgment, published: 12/05/2017


See also

  • The husband was claiming legal professional privilege such that his solicitor, who had arranged the insurance for a £90 million Modern Art Collection which was ordered to be transferred to the wife, could not be questioned about this matter or about the assets held in a limited company in financial remedy proceedings. The court ruled that there was iniquity such as to justify the lifting of legal professional privilege in this case. Judgment, 12/05/2017, free
  • Judgment in financial remedy proceedings in very high net worth case involving offshore trusts and international enforcement. The wife was awarded £453m, which represented 41.5% of the assets. Judgment, 11/05/2017, free
  • In a tweet: A 50:50 split in a big money sees W take over £350million Case note, 12/06/2017, members only

Items referring to this

  • Appeal by a solicitor against an order requiring him to give evidence in big money financial remedy proceedings on the grounds that he was protected by legal professional privilege. Appeal dismissed largely because the evidence sought was not about client advice but third party dealings and therefore not privileged. Judgment, 27/02/2018, free

Published: 12/05/2017


Copyright in the original legal material published on the Family Law Hub is vested in Mills & Reeve LLP (as per date of publication shown on screen) unless indicated otherwise.


The Family Law Hub website relates to the legal position in England Wales and all of the material within it has been prepared with the aim of providing key information only and does not constitute legal advice in relation to any particular situation. While Mills & Reeve LLP aims to ensure that the information is correct at the date on which it is added to the website, the legal position can change frequently, and content will not always be updated following any relevant changes. You therefore acknowledge and agree that Mills & Reeve LLP and its members and employees accept no liability whatsoever in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss or damage caused by or arising directly or indirectly in connection with any use or reliance on the contents of our website except to the extent that such liability cannot be excluded by law.

Bookmark this item