A Goldman Sachs banker will have to pay his ex-wife more cash after she appealed her £2 million divorce settlement despite being set to inherit £100 million from her Saudi father.
The High Court ruled that Hayat Alireza, 38, was left in a ‘straitjacket’ and still beholden to her ‘extremely wealthy’ former husband, Hossam Radwan, 46.
Having almost nothing of her own, no account was taken of her right to ‘personal autonomy’, said Lady Justice Gloster.
Hossam Radwan, left, will have to give his ex wife Hayat Alireza more money following their 2013 divorce after the High Court ruled the £2m settlement left her in ‘a straight jacket’
Ms Alireza is entitled under the original divorce deal to remain in Mr Radwan’s £5million apartment in this building, pictured, until she remarries or her father in Saudi Arabia dies
Former Goldman Sachs financier, Mr Radwan is worth up to £17 million, earning £350,000-a-year in the City, and the judge ruled that £2m for his ex was not enough.
Her contribution to their 14-year marriage, and her caring role for their three children, the youngest aged six, had simply not been recognised.
Ms Alireza stands to inherit up to £100 million from her ‘truly remarkably wealthy’ industrialist father, Youssef Alireza, when he dies, the court heard.
And Mr Radwan’s lawyers said that, although ‘very wealthy’, he ‘much much poorer’ than his former father-in-law and that ought to be taken into account.
But the judge rejected claims that Mr Alireza, said to be worth £500 million, owes ‘some moral duty’ to help Mr Radwan support his ex-wife and children.
Although she would ‘undoubtedly be a very wealthy woman’ when her father died, forcing him to continue supporting her was unacceptable.
If the £2m ran out before she inherited, Ms Alireza would be ‘left with no capital of her own for many years to come’, the judge added.
Although she had been allowed to stay on in the couple’s £5m Kensington home, she would have to move out if her father died or she remarried.
Mr Radwan had ‘long since remarried and started a second family’, but if Ms Alireza remarried before her father died ‘she would have nothing’.
She had ‘no earning capacity and three children to care for’ and the least she deserved was enough money to buy a home of her own, the judge ruled.
Stay-at-home mother, Miss Alireza, and her children still live in the ex-couple’s plush penthouse flat in Albert Hall Mansions, a stone’s throw from the Albert Hall.
The ex-couple, both British citizens, married when she was just 21 and, despite their luxury lifestyle, she had almost nothing she could call her own.
A divorce judge accepted last year that Ms Alireza’s glittering inheritance prospects from her father should be taken into account.
But her barrister, Robert Peel QC, told the Appeal Court: ‘In practice, the judge is placing on the wife’s father an obligation to ensure that the wife is provided for.
‘There is no principle of law that a wife should become the responsibility of her birth family upon divorce.’
Agreeing, Lady Justice Gloster ruled that Mr Alireza bore ‘no duty’ to support his adult daughter when her ex-husband was also worth millions.
Under Saudi law, she will receive a fifth of her father’s fortune when he dies and will be a ‘multi-millionaire in her own right’, the court heard.
Mr Alireza, described as ‘truly remarkably’ rich, is in his 70s and and his fortune derives from one of Saudi Arabia’s oldest business dynasties.
He lives in a 32,000 square foot house with nine permanent staff in Jeddah but also owned a £20m residence in Kensington Church Street.
The Court of Appeal heard that Ms Alireza receives a £4,000-a-month allowance from her father who has also spent £2 million on bills for the mother-of-three’s divorce lawyers
Since his daughter’s divorce, he has paid her a £4,000-a-month allowance and stumped up for divorce lawyers’ bills totalling more than £2 million.
But the judge said that, whatever her legal rights under Sharia law might be, Ms Alireza’s case had to be decided under ‘English law alone’.
‘The father has no duty under English law to support his daughter’, she ruled.
The judge, sitting with Lord Justice Lewison and Lady Justice King, said Ms Alireza was entitled to the ‘security and stability’ of a home of her own.
The amount of cash she will get on top of the £2m will now be decided by a High Court judge, but she is claiming £5.5m.
Lady Justice Gloster said Ms Alireza’s £2m divorce payout ‘sits uncomfortably with contemporary mores and significantly impacts upon her personal autonomy’.
She had been left with no assets of her own and, if she remarried, she and her three children would be forced to move out of their Kensington home.
Mr Radwan would ‘no doubt be wholly opposed to a ‘new’ husband moving into ‘his’ flat,’ but he would just have to live with that, she ruled.
He enjoyed ‘complete autonomy’ and, since their separation in 2013, had remarried and started a new family, the court heard.
‘The wife, however, living in a property owned by her husband and his family, continues to be tied to her former husband,’ said the judge.
‘That has an inevitable impact on her life, including on any new relationship’.
In particular, if she remarried before her father died, she would lose her home and be left without any capital to buy a new one.
Ms Alireza had a duty to care for her children and that could be ‘lifelong’ as her eldest, aged 17, has learning difficulties.
The children had endured ‘a perfect storm of litigation’ since their parents separated and more than £2m in legal bills had been run up.
But her role as mother and home-maker simply ‘did not feature’ in the divorce judge’s decision to give her ‘no capital at all’ of her own.
‘The judge made an order which denied this wife any recognition in the form of a capital settlement to reflect her contribution to the marriage,’ said Lady Justice Gloster.
The £2m was only expected to last for 14 years and, if it ran out before her father died – he is in his 70s – she would be left with nothing.
And the judge said it was ‘hard to see’ how it could be fair to deny Ms Alireza enough money to buy a home of her own.
Her ex-husband was worth £14-17m, much of it inherited, and had an earning capacity of £350,000-a-year.
Mr Radwan’s lawyers argued that, under Saudi law, the divorce was ‘a problem’ for both him and his ex-wife’s father.
She was certain to inherit a fifth of Mr Alireza’s estimated £500 million fortune and he had ‘both a legal and moral obligation’ to support her.
But the judge said: ‘English law alone applies and the father has no duty under English law to support his daughter.’
He was not under ‘some moral duty either to relieve or to share the husband’s obligations to support his wife and the mother of his children.’