Ex-wife of billionaire wins right to make claim

Christina Estrada, the ex-wife of Shiekh Walid Juffali, has won the right to make a claim on her ex-husband’s estimated £4 billion fortune after taking her case the the UK Court of Appeal.

Ms Estrada and Sheikh Juffali married in 2001 and split in 2012.

Ms Estrada attempted to claim financial relief from her ex-husband under the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984; however, Sheikh Juffali took the position that he did not have to give Ms Estrada any money and could not be forced to do so as he was protected from any litigation due to being Permanent Representative for St. Lucia in the International Maritime Organisation and not a permanent resident in the UK.

Following this claim, Ms Estrada took her ex-husband to court. Lord Justice Hayden of the High Court subsequently ruled that, as Juffali had not “discharged any functions as a Permanent Representative” his position was an “artificial construct” and he was considered a permanent resident in the UK, he must abide by the 1984 Act.

Juffali then appealed this decision, asserting the ruling at the High Court was incorrect. However, the Court of Appeal has since dismissed his challenge, stating that while the High Court was wrong to dismiss Juffali’s diplomatic immunity due to his position as permanent representative, Lord Justice Hayden was correct in dismissing Juffali’s claim as he can be considered a permanent resident in the UK and therefore exempt from the 1984 law.

A spokesperson for Sheikh Juffali said after the ruling: “Our client is saddened and disappointed by today’s decision to dismiss his appeal.

“Whilst he is grateful that the court vindicated his appointment as the permanent representative to the International Maritime Association and rectified Mr Justice Hayden’s error, he is dismayed that the court concluded that he is permanently resident in this jurisdiction in circumstances where he does not have indefinite leave to remain in this jurisdiction, and spends only a limited number of days in the UK each year.”

Juffali is the chairman of E. A. Juffali and Brothers, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest companies. Prior to divorcing Ms Estrada, Juffali married Loujain Adada, a Lebanese model and television presenter as, under Saudi law a man may have up to four wives.

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