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Banker faces criminal investigation after ‘trading secrets’ to wife battling for £453m settlement

A former Goldman Sachs and UBS banker who is accused of trading confidential financial information to the ex-wife at the centre of the UK’s record £453 million divorce settlement faces a criminal investigation in Switzerland, following a dossier passed to prosecutors by lawyers acting for Farkhad Akhmedov and his son, Temur.

British-born Ross Henderson, who lives with his family in the canton of Zug, first met oil and gas billionaire Mr Akhmedov while working at UBS. 

In 2014, they struck a deal for the Briton to set up and run a Swiss-based company, Cotor Asset Management, to run the businessman’s financial and business affairs. 

A year later the pair fell out and Mr Akhmedov fired Mr Henderson.

The following year, in December 2016, Farkhad’s ex-wife Tatiana was awarded one of the world’s biggest matrimonial settlement and the largest divorce payout in English legal history.

British-born Ross Henderson is said to have passed hundreds of highly confidential emails, bank statements and confidential advice to Tatiana Akhmedova (pictured), as her ex-husband and his former employer, Farkhad Akhmedov, disputes a £450m divorce settlement

British-born Ross Henderson is said to have passed hundreds of highly confidential emails, bank statements and confidential advice to Tatiana Akhmedova (pictured), as her ex-husband and his former employer, Farkhad Akhmedov, disputes a £450m divorce settlement 

Mr Akhmedov has always disputed the right of the English High Court to have made any award against him because the couple were Russian citizens in 1992 when they married in Russia and divorce proceedings had already occurred in Moscow in 2000. 

He has not voluntarily handed over a penny of the settlement and is fighting a global legal battle to preserve assets belonging to him and Akhmedov family trusts.

As litigation continued on four continents, Mr Henderson in 2018 handed over a USB stick containing the huge cache of confidential Cotor documents to ex-wife Tatiana Akhmedova and her financial backers, the London and New York listed litigation financiers, Burford Capital.

The potentially unlawful arrangements between Mr Henderson and Tatiana were first made public in an English High Court judgment handed down by Mrs Justice Knowles in the High Court, London on November 22, 2019. 

It confirmed that Mr Henderson passed over to Tatiana and Burford Capital hundreds of highly confidential emails, bank statements and confidential and legally privileged advice.

Mr Akhmedov has never voluntarily paid a penny of the settlement, as he disputes the right of the English High Court to have made any award against him because the couple were Russian citizens in 1992 when they married in Russia and divorce proceedings had already occurred in Moscow in 2000

Mr Akhmedov has never voluntarily paid a penny of the settlement, as he disputes the right of the English High Court to have made any award against him because the couple were Russian citizens in 1992 when they married in Russia and divorce proceedings had already occurred in Moscow in 2000

Despite ruling it to be a clear breach of confidentiality, Mrs Justice Knowles said the documents were admissible in the English High Court to help Tatiana and her backers to seek to recover the contested settlement.

Now Swiss prosecutors have received a formal request and evidence to start an investigation into Mr Henderson’s activities. 

It says the trade of the confidential information can be investigated under Swiss law because, after winding up Cotor, Mr Henderson ‘kept the sensitive data at his place of residence in Unteragari and it can therefore be assumed that significant acts were carried out there’.

It notes that, following his closure of Cotor, the plaintiff copied its files on to a USB stick kept at his home before handing them over to Tatiana’s Swiss lawyers. 

In return for the handover of the confidential documents it is alleged that Tatiana paid and continues to pay to retain the services of Mr Henderson’s new company, Sparten AG.

On its website, Sparten says it offers a range of client services, including ‘strategy, litigation support and asset recovery’.

In requesting a full criminal investigation the dossier, now with public prosecutors in Zug, alleges: ‘There is a service relationship between (Mr Henderson) and (Tatiana) which would certainly not have come about in this way if Mr Henderson had not quite clearly illegally contributed or sold the knowledge and documents obtained in the course of his activity for (Cotor).’

The move against Mr Henderson comes as the latest development in a four year battle by Tatiana and Burford to secure the settlement. 

Tatiana was awarded £450m in 2016 after the collapse of her ten-year marriage but her husband refused pay her half his fortune saying he did not recognise the High Court's ruling. Since then she has attempted to seize his mega yacht Luna worth more than £350m

Tatiana was awarded £450m in 2016 after the collapse of her ten-year marriage but her husband refused pay her half his fortune saying he did not recognise the High Court’s ruling. Since then she has attempted to seize his mega yacht Luna worth more than £350m

So far, despite investing £30million in legal fees, private intelligence agencies and debt recovery specialists around the world, they have recovered less than one per cent of the £453 million award. 

Burford agreed to finance Tatiana’s litigation and lifestyle for a return of up to 30 per cent of the £453 million.

In August Dubai’s highest court ruled out any hope of Tatiana and Burford taking possession of the £350 million superyacht Luna. 

Shortly afterwards, Burford turned to the controversial US and London based Arcanum Global intelligence agency to help retrieve assets.

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