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President and Founder
Specialism: Lawyers Family and Matrimonial
Location: London, England
Ayesha Vardag currently has no profile.
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Average client size: Over £25 million
Fixed fee offering: No
Number of offices globally: 1-5
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Husband ordered to pay ex-wife after trying to hide £45m of assets in offshore trusts
In Young v Young, the so-called ‘Brewster’s Millions’ case, Ayesha represented the wife, Michelle Young, in her legal battle against her declared bankrupt husband Scot Young. At the time of the final hearing, the husband was bankrupt and his position was he was insolvent to the tune of more than £28m. The wife’s case was that he had “many hundreds of millions” if not “a few billion at least” hidden offshore in a series of complex trusts. In order to circumvent the bankruptcy, Ayesha invited the court to find that the husband had in fact hidden away assets sufficient not only to meet his creditors but to provide her with her fair share of the assets. After a twenty-day final hearing, Moor J assessed the husband’s assets in March 2006 to have been £45m. The judge had “no idea what has happened since then” but on the limited evidence before him, found that the husband still had £45m hidden from the court. Against that, he deducted £5 million for the husband's legitimate debts, making a net total of £40m. The husband was ordered to pay the £20m lump sum within twenty-eight days plus costs of £5m (believed to be the largest ever cost order made in family proceedings) and maintenance arrears totalling £1.5m.
Wife who won the right to divorce in England awarded £64 million
In the long-running dispute of Chai v Peng, Ayesha has advised on one of the highest value cases ever to come before the family courts.
The initial divorce proceedings began a three-year jurisdiction fight which spanned the globe. The husband, the wealthy Malaysian businessman who owns Laura Ashley, petitioned in Malaysia, whilst the wife, represented by Vardags, petitioned in England. The case went to the Court of Appeal in both countries, with the wife ultimately prevailing in her bid to have the case heard in the English High Court.
n Al-Baker v Al-Baker Ayesha advised the wife of a Middle Eastern businessman in what became the largest Part III financial relief payout ever made. Though the wife initially filed for divorce in England, the husband pronounced a unilateral talaq divorce in the UAE courts. With no subsisting marriage, the wife then sought relief under the 1984 act. The husband was completely disengaged, failing to provide any disclosure and remaining outside the jurisdiction for the duration of proceedings. Vardags successfully obtained a worldwide freezing order over £125m of the husband’s assets and a nine-month sentence for committal, the longest ever imposed for non-disclosure in the family courts. At the final hearing, the wife received a record-breaking award in excess of £63m, the largest ever from one spouse to another on a foreign divorce.