Surprising Observers, Aga Khan Fights Record $75M French Divorce Court Award
Posted Jan 11, 2012 2:34 PM CST
By Martha Neil
To many, a divorce award of $75 million or so might seem astronomical.
But it's practically small change to a man worth between $5 and $10 billion. And so observers expected the Aga Khan to ante up when a French court ruled in September he should pay that amount to his second wife, even though it is the highest amount ever awarded in a divorce in that country, the Telegraph reports.
However, Prince Karim, 75, who as the fourth Aga Khan heads an Ismaeli Muslim community of 12 million, has filed a last-minute appeal. That sets the stage for an unprecedented review by the Cour de Cassation, creating a stir both in legal and high-society circles.
From a legal standpoint, the move is problematic because it could delay the divorce for as long as seven years. During that time, his second wife, the former Princess Gabriele zu Leiningen, retains her marital rights, the newspaper explains. Meanwhile, others are wondering what the move portends concerning what had seemed to be an impending marriage to another high-profile woman.
An initial award to the Aga Khan's second wife was a fraction of the $75 million, but it was overturned due to a finding that his adultery was to blame for the divorce. He had claimed that she did not take seriously her responsibilities as the wife of a religious leader.
He is a British citizen, but lives in France.
An earlier Daily Mail article provides additional details.