A wealthy businessman claims his former “wife” is not entitled to a share in a £1.1 billion fortune as he alledges they were never legally married.
Asif Aziz said he and his estranged wife Tagilde Aziz were both born abroad and obtained a “fake” marriage certificate so a child they had adopted could get a passport.
Mr Aziz now wants a High Court judge to rescind a divorce pronouncement.
Mrs Aziz, however, disputes his claim and says they were married for 15 years and claims she is entitled to a “fair share” of the marital finances.
Mrs Aziz maintains that Muslim ceremony of marriage had taken place in Malawi in 2002.
Mr Aziz refutes this claim and said that a fake marriage “certificate of convenience” had been issued.
Evidence is being analysed by Mr Justice Moor at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
Richard Harrison QC, for Mr Aziz, told the judge in a written case outline,
“Mr Aziz’s evidence is clear.
“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.”
Deborah Bangay QC, for Mrs Aziz, said,
“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.
“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.”
She said an “unopposed” decree nisi had been pronounced by a judge in England in November 2016 and added, “The court need look no further than Mr Aziz’s obvious determination to an achieve overwhelming victory over Mrs Aziz at any cost.”
Mrs Aziz had “sought actively” to progress claims for a “fair share out of total resources of £1.1 billion”, Mr Justice Moor was told.
Her lawyers said Mr Aziz had also argued that he had “no capital” and was a “man of straw”.
The hearing continues.