Ex-model's divorce payment stymied by husband's death

Christina Estrada may have to sue family

BRITAIN-SAUDI-COURT-DIVORCE

Former Pirelli model Christina Estrada will have to wait for her £53 million divorce settlement because her ex-husband died days before the deadline for paying her expired.

Saudi billionaire Dr Walid Juffali had been ordered by the High Court to hand over the cash by July 29th. But nine days before this date, he died of lung cancer, and the money never appeared.

Yesterday, a High Court hearing told by Saudi lawyer Abdullah Nassief that Dr Juffali's family wanted more time.

"I am not dealing with a situation where the door has been slammed shut," said Mrs Justice Roberts. "I hope we will get this sorted out without the need for further litigation."

The delay, though, raises the possibility that Ms Estrada, 54, will have to sue her own 13-year-old daughter, along with her two stepdaughters, to get the money she's owed.

Two years before his death, Dr Juffali used Sharia law to transfer most of his Saudi assets to his three daughters. However, it's believed that he had enough property in London to cover the cost of Ms Estrada's settlement.

The divorce was a particularly acrimonious one, stemming from Dr Juffali's second marriage - legal under Saudi law - to a Lebanese television presenter 32 years his junior in 2012.

Ms Estrada initially demanded an even bigger settlement - £196.5 million - along with £116,000 a year for handbags and £83,000 for cocktail dresses.

Meanwhile, Dr Juffali tried to claim diplomatic immunity after being appointed as St Lucia's permanent representative to the International Maritime Organisation.

There will now be another hearing in October.

Divorce is rarely easy at the best of times, but death can complicate matters considerably. Recently, we reported on the case of Mari Vindis, who was in the process of divorcing her husband when he died unexpectedly.

She filed divorce papers two months before his death, and was expecting a £6 million payout - only to discover that he'd rewritten his will, leaving the vast majority of his wealth to the couple's two children. Ms Vindis was left just £36,000.

She's now in the process of asking the High Court to honour the divorce terms; her daughters, like Ms Estrada's daughter, are said to be sympathetic.

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