An Arab billionaire couple Haytham al Tajir, 45, and Noor Al Fardan, 32, who have spent close to three years secretly battling it out in Britain’s divorce courts have seen their legal costs jump to close to $5 million.
The Daily Mail reports that Haytham al Tajir, who is the youngest son of a Dubai property tycoon and owner of Highland Spring, has acrimoniously split up with Noor Al Fardan, who is the daughter of an eminent Qatari businessman who made her name by designing Jewellery to the stars.
Both parties have hired expensive lawyers for their bitter dispute with Noor taking on the services of legendary divorce specialist Baroness Shackleton.
The couple, who were first introduced in late 2011 by relatives, got married at an extravagant ceremony in Geneva in 2012. The ceremony took place at the Batiment des Forces Motrices, a stunning performance art venue that was once a power plant.
The marriage lasted for three years. Four years ago, Noor fled to London, purchased a $20 million mansion in Mayfair and filed to divorce Haytham through the British courts.
The families of the couple tried to keep the separation a secret, fearing that the news could embarrass their families who wield a lot of influence in the Arab communities both in Britain and the Middle East.
But now the exorbitant costs of their long-drawn-out legal battle – and details of the immense wealth the couple’s families control – can be disclosed.
A friend of Noor’s told MailOnline: ‘On paper it was the dream existence, they just went from one luxury residence to the other, enjoying the best of everything. But behind it all, they were having problems from very early on in the marriage. It was difficult to keep up with her, we never knew which country she was going to be in.’
Haytham al Tajir’s father Mahdi al Tajir was once an adviser to the former ruler of Dubai, and formerly served as the UAE’s ambassador to the UK as well as France. He owns Highland Spring Water and the Park Hotel Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge. He also owns the Mereworth castle in Kent, Chateau Valliere in Paris, Chateau St Jean in Cap Ferrat on the French Riviera and Keir house in Scotland, a 15,000-acre estate where he spends most of his time. His home, which is located close to Buckingham Palace, is valued at close to $300 million. Various reports have estimated his fortune at more than $2 billion.
On the other hand, Noor is the daughter of Qatari billionaire Ali Al Fardan, the vice chairman of Alfardan group, a conglomerate with a diverse portfolio which has grown to include ventures in jewellery, exchange, property development, automotive, hospitality, marine and investment. She has designed jewellery for stars including Princess Charlene of Monaco, Anna Friel, Taylor Swift, Nicole Scherzinger and Michele Rodriguez have worn her designs.