Lawyers representing the ex-wife of Saudi billionaire, Walid Juffali have named Prime Minister Kenny Anthony as a respondent in a case to be heard here in Saint Lucia. HTS News 4Force broke the news last night during its evening newscast. Anthony confirmed that he and his attorney general have been named as respondents in the case. Lawyers for Juffali’s ex-wife are seeking a declaration from the court that the appointment of the Saudi billionaire as Saint Lucia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organisation is invalid and unlawful.
The Daily Telegraph reported last November that Juffali had become Saint Lucia’s “permanent representative” to the International Maritime Organisation in London, a post that brings legal immunity in Britain. Ms Estrada’s lawyers have argued that Juffali’s condition casts doubt on whether he is genuinely serving as a diplomat from Saint Lucia with the entitlement to legal immunity. “Her primary argument is that the husband’s employment, which gave rise to the claim for diplomatic immunity, was a contrivance on his part to defeat her claim,” said Mr Justice Hayden.
“That would be a very interesting contest because you know I like a legal contest,” Prime Minister Anthony reportedly told HTS News 4Force on Thursday. In February this year, a British Judge dismissed Juffali’s claim of diplomatic immunity, giving his ex-wife the opportunity to pursue legal action to claim some of the Saudi national’s fortune in the UK.
Juffali has filed an appeal. Prime Minister Kenny Anthony, a former University of the West Indies Law Lecturer, has consistently defended his administration’s refusal to accede to requests to waive the Saudi national’s diplomatic immunity. Of the case that has been filed here naming him and the attorney general as respondents, Anthony said: “We will deal with that very soon.”
Christina Estrada is seeking a share of her ex-husband’s properties in Britain. In particular, she has laid claim to a seven-bedroom converted church in Knightsbridge, near Harrods, known as St Saviour’s House. This lavish home with a swimming pool and cinema was valued at £50 million in 2013. Ms Estrada is also targeting Bishopsgate House, an estate found alongside Windsor Great Park in the vicinity of Windsor Castle, one of the properties used by The Queen of England. Finally, she wants a share of Matthews Point Manor, a country house in Dartmouth on the Devon coast, valued at £2.5 million in 2007.
Earlier this month a High Court judge threw out Juffali’s argument that he was not subject to British law because of his diplomatic immunity as Saint Lucia’s representative to the International Maritime Organisation. Mr Justice Hayden described the appointment as ‘spurious’ and ‘entirely artificial’ after it emerged Juffali had not performed any duties since acquiring the post in April 2014 and is now said to be seriously ill. Juffali’s appeal against this ruling is due to be heard next month. If unsuccessful, the final hearing on Ms Estrada’s claim could take place in June.
Ms Estrada, who was born in America but has lived in the UK since 1994, was romantically linked to Prince Andrew in the 1990s and featured in the 1993 Pirelli calendar. Juffali, the Chairman of one of the largest companies in Saudi Arabia, EA Juffali and Brothers, famously paid £270,000 for a nude photograph of Kate Moss at an auction. He divorced his first wife Basma al-Sulaiman in 2000 after 24 years of marriage and agreed to pay a £40 million settlement. In 2012 he polygamously married Lebanese TV presenter Loujain Adada, then aged 25, as under Saudi Arabian law, men are legally permitted to have four wives as long as they are treated equally.