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This $500 million yacht is in the middle of a Russian billionaire's divorce battle

CNBC logo CNBC 7/20/2018 Uptin Saiidi

At the center of what's described as Britain's most expensive divorce is a nearly $500 million yacht, named Luna.

The ongoing battle between Russian oligarch Farkhad Akhmedov and his ex-wife Tatiana Akhmedova has spanned Russia and the U.K., and more recently, Dubai.

Earlier this year, Akhmedov was ordered to hand over his yacht to his ex-wife, but refused. In February, the yacht was impounded in Dubai on behalf of the U.K. High Court when it showed up for maintenance work. 

Luna has nine decks, features two heliports, a spa, swimming pool, and takes a crew of about 50.

The two married in 1993 and moved to London, where Akhmedov would come to collect helicopters, vintage cars, fine art and multiple homes. They eventually divorced — but the exact time of the divorce is unclear. In 2016, a U.K. High Court judge ordered Akhmedov to pay his ex-wife $646 million, but he refused.

Akhmedov's claim was that they had already been divorced in Russia more than a decade earlier. The judge, however claimed that divorce paperwork was forged, even claiming Akhmedov had been hiding his assets in “a web of offshore companies.”

On her side, Akhmedova has hired Burford Capital, a litigation finance firm, that's helping to finance her side of the legal battle.

Burford backs costly lawsuits with the hopes of eventually getting a cut of the settlement. It’s part of a growing industry known as litigation finance.

Burford has given Akhmedova a lump sum that covers her living expenses.

The case now sits with the courts at the Dubai International Financial Centre, where judges will reconvene to hear new evidence, according to The National.

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