Latvian millionaire businessman Valeri Belokon is embroiled in a bitter court battle with his ex-wife over their millions
A foreign football tycoon and his wife have already racked up around £2million in legal costs during a bitter divorce battle.
Latvian millionaire businessman Valeri Belokon and ex-wife Diana Belokon are fighting over their fortune at London’s High Court.
The former director of League One football club Blackpool has spent more than £1 million on lawyers and his ex-wife around £750,000, the court heard today.
But deputy High Court judge Richard Todd told the court the huge sums are not unreasonable and can benefit the UK because foreign millionaires pay tax on what they spend.
Judge Todd said: ‘These figures may seem to an uninformed bystander to be extremely high… they are not.’
He said ‘millions and tens of millions’ could be sometimes be at stake.
The judge heard that Mr Belokon’s ex-wife wanted a payment running into millions of pounds.
‘There seems to be a misunderstanding that somehow lawyers in these cases are charging fees which are wholly unreasonable,’ he added.
‘These fees are subject to rigorous investigation and assessment.’
He estimated the Belokon case might generate more than £1 million in tax.
Belokon is best known for having bought a stake in Blackpool football club in 2006
The judge said that was ‘vastly greater’ than the amounts of public spending paying for him, court staff and courts.
Members of the public are barred from the Belokon trial.
Judge Todd has ruled that journalists can attend but has imposed limitations on what can be reported.
Judge Richard Todd said the amount spent on lawyers was justified when the overall amount involved in the dispute is considered
He said Mr Belokon and his ex-wife could be named in media reports and the public told of the nature of their dispute.
But he said no confidential commercial information could be revealed.
The trial, which began on Tuesday, is due to end later this week.
Mr Belokon is arguing his ex-wife’s claim is without merit and says she should get nothing.
In November, Mr Belokon won a High Court fight with Blackpool directors Owen Oyston and son Karl Oyston.
A judge told the Oystons to pay more than £30 million after Mr Belokon, who bought a 20% stake in Blackpool 12 years ago, complained of being excluded from key decisions and shares of profits.