UK: Billionaire Sheikh Whalid Juffali Cannot Claim “Diplomatic Immunity” in Maintenance War

The ex Wife of Saudi Billionaire Sheikh Whalid Juffali, Christina Estrada, wins his challenge to her maintenance suit against him. The UK Courts decided that the billionaire, who claims some sort of diplomatic privilege based on his connection to the Caribbean island of St Lucia, can indeed be sued by his ex wife. It sparked a huge legal spat among the big names in the business in the divorce bar in UK because the judge who stripped the billionaire of his diplomatic immunity was heavily and publicly criticised by QC Erik Eicke and by the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. Writes the UK Guardian:

Hammond bluntly said the court’s ruling “should not be upheld or endorsed”. In an unusual step, the FCO submitted an opinion from Tim Eicke QC backing the Saudi billionaire. It said the judge had “erred” in attempting to “look behind” the Saudi billionaire’s accreditation as a diplomat.

Hammond argued that only the “executive [acting through the FCO] as part of the royal prerogative of conducting foreign relations” can decide to “accept [or not] a diplomat”.

The Foreign Office actually submitted an opinion by QC Erik Eicke backing the Saudi Sheikh.

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