Foreign Office wades into Britain’s biggest divorce case

It was either a move of extraordinary cunning, or fortuitous in the extreme. Within months of receiving a demand from his ex-wife for a share of his £4billion fortune, Saudi tycoon Sheik Walid Juffali joined the obscure International Maritime Organisation as representative of the Caribbean island of St Lucia – gaining diplomatic immunity from any legal action in Britain. It meant, of course, that his fortune was safe from his wife of 14 years, former calendar model Christina Estrada.

But now, the British Government has taken the highly unusual step of intervening on her behalf. A senior British official has written to the St Lucian government demanding that the immunity be waived so London-based Ms Estrada can seek a divorce settlement. The Foreign Office Head of Protocol Julian Evans has given St Lucia’s acting High Commissioner in London until January 8 to respond. It will be welcome news to Ms Estrada, 53, a long-time friend of Prince Andrew, and to Mr Juffali’s critics who accuse him of making ‘a mockery’ of British justice.

Saudi tycoon Sheik Walid Juffali owns this £15million country estate in Egham, Surrey, which boasts its own maze and tennis courts. The estate is next to Windsor Great Park and is just four miles from Windsor Castle.

Saudi tycoon Sheik Walid Juffali owns this £15million country estate in Egham, Surrey, which boasts its own maze and tennis courts. The estate is next to Windsor Great Park and is just four miles from Windsor Castle.

He had no known maritime experience and few, if any, connections with St Lucia when his appointment to the IMO – a United Nations body that oversees world maritime safety – was made in April 2014. So far, he has attended no meetings. If proceedings were to reach court, it would be one of the most high-profile divorce cases ever seen in the UK. The couple, who have a 13-year-old daughter, own assets that include a £60million converted church in Knightsbridge and estates in Surrey and Dartmouth.

A friend of Ms Estrada and Mr Juffali said last night: “Walid and Christina seemed to have the perfect marriage. They were great fun and generous, often opening up their home and throwing parties. “Christina believed they could come to an amicable arrangement and that Walid would want to provide a sensible settlement. “It’s a shame it has come to this. Christina is determined to protect their 13-year-old daughter from further drama.” Mr Juffali, 60, is one of the Middle East’s most flamboyant characters. In 2005, he paid £220,000 at a Christie’s charity auction for a nude photograph of Tamara Mellon, the co-founder of Jimmy Choo, and £270,000 for a nude photograph of Kate Moss.

He paid out £40million to his first wife after their 24-year marriage ended in 2000, when he took up with Ms Estrada. The latest separation came after Ms Estrada discovered her husband had secretly married again under Islamic law – which permits him to have up to four wives – around the time of her 50th birthday party in 2012. Ms Estrada confronted him after a TV report was broadcast in Lebanon announcing Mr Juffali’s wedding to Beirut beauty Loujain Adada, then 24, a former MTV presenter. Ms Adada posted a picture on her social media accounts showing her posing in the front seat of a bright pink Bentley – a gift from Mr Juffali.

Within months of divorce proceedings starting in London in 2014, Mr Juffali was appointed to the IMO. Once diplomatic immunity had been secured, Mr Juffali divorced Ms Estrada in the traditional Muslim way by saying ‘I divorce you’ three times. The IMO appointment was never publicly announced by the St Lucia government and there is no record of Mr Juffali attending any meetings of the IMO in the 20 months since his appointment, including the organisation’s biennial two-week summit meeting in London this month.

Mr Juffali, chairman of one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest conglomerates, denies any wrong-doing, saying the appointment was made in accordance with standard diplomatic procedures. More than 20,000 people are entitled to diplomatic immunity in the UK. Earlier this year it was revealed that Scotland Yard’s diplomatic protection group had flagged up 14 ‘serious and significant’ offences in 2014 by people with such privileges. The Government seek to have immunity waived in serious criminal cases where a sentence of more than 12 months would apply if a conviction was secured. Representatives for Mr Juffali and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office declined to comment.

 

Share your feedback with us.

3 Responses to Foreign Office wades into Britain’s biggest divorce case

  1. hulla says:

    Jufalli and the prince had a right to dump her
    the woman is a gold digger.
    I hope she gets nothing form that Jufalli divorce
    she playing money men against each other for her own gain
    you can’t see that?

  2. hulla says:

    Jufalli’s second ex wife is Prince Andrew’s ex girlfriend.
    See where the pressure on st lucia coming from?
    How SLU get involved in this high level tomfoolry
    is impossible to understand.
    We poor st lucia involved in high level scandals and divorce settlement
    games of the rich?
    Why st lucia?

  3. hulla says:

    Jufalli’s second ex wife is Prince Andrew’s ex girlfriend.
    See where the pressure on st lucia coming from?
    How SLU get involved in this high level tomfoolry
    is impossible to understand.
    We poor st lucia involved in high level scandals and divorce settlements
    games of the rich?
    Why st lucia?

← Go Back | bbApp | Local | pulse Back to Top ↑
THE STAR Newspaper screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-7-07-55-pm
Magazines available in THE STAR Newspaper
2Nite Magazine for Saturday October 1st, 2016 ~ Issue no. 204
2nite Magazine
Sports & Health Magazine for October 1st, 2016 ~ Issue no. 112
Sports & Health Inc
  • 2Nite Magazine TV

    2Nite Magazine's Candid Camera

    You never know where 2Nite Magazine will capture you next. You may very well be the next one 'caught on candid camera' at the next event!! If its HIP and its HAPPENING, then its in 2Nite! Hosted by: Faye-Chantelle Mondesir (Empress Faye)

    Posted by 2nite Magazine on Friday, 22 January 2016
  • Contact us via WhatsApp with news on 1 758 720 2896

    What's App
    Send us your news or contact us with your story via What's App.
  • Sound your voice and cast your ballot!

  • Poll for the week

    See all polls and results
  • TALK or VENT here!

    TALK or VENT constructively and share your feedback on our weekly news and stories. CONSTRUCTIVE talk is welcome. You have a voice with The STAR Newspaper!
    TALK or VENT constructively and share your feedback on our weekly news and stories. CONSTRUCTIVE talk is welcome. You have a voice with The STAR Newspaper!
  • Subscribe for latest news and updates

    Enter your email address to subscribe and receive latest news and updates via email.

  • The St.Lucia STAR Newspaper

  • STAR Articles