Billionaire claims marriage was fake to avoid payments to ex-wife

The property mogul owns large parts of London's West End


Asif Aziz divorce

A billionaire property developer is claiming his ex-wife isn't entitled to a share of his wealth - because she was never really his wife in the first place.

Asif and Tagilde Aziz were divorced last year, but Mr Aziz is now attempting to get the decision overturned.

See also: Lee Westwood facing collossal £50m divorce settlement

See also: Did Mel B time divorce to avoid handing over her fortune?

He's claiming that they only pretended to have married in Malawi in 2002, obtaining a false marriage certificate so that the child they'd adopted could get a passport.

In fact, he claims, no ceremony ever took place, and the couple's 14-year marriage was nothing of the sort.

"The parties went on holiday to Malawi in September 2002. They were at that time planning to relocate to England. They needed a passport. Arrangements were made," QC Richard Harrison told the court.

But Deborah Bangay QC, for Mrs Aziz, said Mr Aziz was simply trying to evade his responsibilities.

"Mrs Aziz is entitled to - and does - rely on the presumption of marriage and the facts that the parties presented to the world for the totality of the period between 2002 and their separation," she said.

"It is for Mr Aziz credibly to explain... why he presented to the world for a period of two decades that he and Mrs Aziz were married."

According to the Daily Mail, Mr Aziz has a fortune of £1.1 billion. Through property group Criterion Capital, he owns large portions of the West End including 1 Leicester Square, 1 Piccadilly and the London Trocadero.

Mr Aziz is by no means the first person to try and get out of sharing his wealth on the grounds that their marriage was never valid.

American stand-up comedian Ron White, for example, is currently claiming that he and Margo Rey were never legally married, and only ever had a 'mock wedding ceremony'.

And this time last year, an Oxford academic claimed that his religious marriage in Syria was never legally registered, and that his wife shouldn't be entitled to a share of their £1 million house.

Most famously of all, back in 1999, Mick Jagger tried to claim that he'd never really been married to Jerry Hall. In the end, the couple agreed to have their marriage annulled.

Celebs who have suffered financially after divorce

Celebs who have suffered financially after divorce