Widow of late Saudi King Fahd keeps 10-bedroom mansion on London’s ‘Billionaire’s Row’
A lawsuit by the Asturion Foundation claimed the ownership of Kenstead Hall was unlawfully transferred to King Fahd’s widow, Al Jawharah bint Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al Ibrahim, from the foundation in 2011.Updated: Sep 12, 2018 15:33 IST
A widow of the late King Fahd Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia can retain a mansion on one of London’s most expensive roads, after a UK judge rejected a claim against her by the family’s foundation.
Deputy Master Edward Cousins on Tuesday struck out a lawsuit by the Asturion Foundation, which manages the Fahd bin Abdulaziz family’s global assets. That suit, filed in 2015, claimed the ownership of Kenstead Hall, in the capital’s affluent Highgate neighbourhood, was unlawfully transferred to King Fahd’s widow, Al Jawharah bint Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al Ibrahim, from the foundation in 2011. King Fahd died in 2005.
“This is a proper case for the claim to be struck out in its entirety on the grounds of abuse of process,” the judge said in his ruling, adding that the foundation had had a “long period of inactivity” after first filing the suit. Lawyers for the Liechtenstein foundation had “failed to deal constructively” with requests for information about the nature and location of its assets, the judge said.
Asturion’s attorney Graham Shear said Tuesday that the foundation would likely try to challenge with the ruling.
“We do not agree with the judgment of the Deputy Master and we will almost certainly be seeking permission to appeal on behalf of the foundation,” Shear said by email. Al Ibrahim’s lawyer didn’t immediately comment.
The lawsuit gives a rare window into an inheritance dispute within the Saudi royal family, which is typically tight-lipped about wealth and keeps internal discord private. Al Ibrahim was widely believed to be King Fahd’s favourite wife and once held great sway in the kingdom. However other branches of the royal family have seen their influence wane as King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have centralized power.
The London court judgment doesn’t say who controls the Asturion foundation.
The house was worth 28 million pounds ($36.4 million) in 2011, according to documents from the UK Land Registry. It’s on The Bishops Avenue, known as “Billionaires Row” in north London, and is listed on the property website Zoopla as a 10-bed home.
The case is Asturion Foundation v Aljawarah Bint Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al Ibrahim in the UK High Court of Justice, case no HC-2015-001414.
--With assistance from Vivian Nereim.
To contact the reporters on this story: Kaye Wiggins in London at email@example.com;Jonathan Browning in London at firstname.lastname@example.org
First Published: Sep 12, 2018 13:44 IST