Saudi Diplomat and Billionaire Avoids UK Divorce Claim

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Saudi Diplomat and Billionaire Avoids UK Divorce Claim
Tue 19-01-2016

Saudi billionaire, Walid Juffali, suceeded in using diplomatic immunity to avoid a multimillion-pound divorce claim from his ex-wife, Christina Estrada, after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office failed to have it waived.

Walid Juffali, 60, who has been appointed to represent St Lucia, is facing a claim from Christina Estrada, 53, a former Pirelli calendar model, for a share of his £4 billion fortune.

Dr Juffali, who is chairman of the Juffali Group, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest conglomerates, appeared on the diplomatic list in September 2014. He was appointed as a permanent representative of St Lucia.

A friend of Ms Estrada and Mr Juffali said: "Walid and Christina seemed to have the perfect marriage. They were great fun and generous, often opening up their home and throwing parties."

He paid out £40million to his first wife after their 24-year marriage ended in 2000, when he took up with Ms Estrada. The latest separation came after Ms Estrada discovered her husband had secretly married again under Islamic law – which permits him to have up to four wives – around the time of her 50th birthday party in 2012.

Within months of divorce proceedings starting in London in 2014, Mr Juffali was appointed to the IMO. Once diplomatic immunity had been secured, Mr Juffali divorced Ms Estrada in the traditional Muslim way by saying 'I divorce you' three times.