A former Premier League star’s girlfriend has been embroiled in a legal battle with her millionaire ex-husband after the footballer became involved in a row over a £7million property. Elie Taktouk argued his former wife Daniella Semaan understated the amount of financial support she receives from boyfriend Cesc Fabregas during their divorce proceedings.
He launched a legal bid yesterday in a further attempt to stop the sale of the luxury Belgravia flat they once shared after he was ordered to use profits from the sale and a top-up payment to give her £1.4million for a new home.
The Lebanese property tycoon applied for leave to appeal after a company owned by Barcelona star Fabregas put in a bid for the Grade II-listed Upper Belgrave Street flat. The Court of Appeal heard the company offered about £5.4million for the property.
Mr Taktouk said the move means his ex-wife would be allowed to stay in their former home if the former Arsenal footballer buys the luxury flat and still receive the top-up payment.
However, the court rejected his application for leave to appeal the order yesterday.
Mr Taktouk and Miss Semaan divorced months after photographs appeared in the media of her on holiday with the 25-year-old Spaniard in Italy. Miss Semaan, who has two children by Mr Taktouk, gave birth to her and Fabregas’ first daughter last week.
Mr Taktouk claimed that during the divorce hearings his ex-wife understated the amount of financial help she will receive from Fabregas, who is believed to earn £5million a year.
Her evidence led to judge Mr Justice Coleridge ordering the sale of the luxury London flat.
Mr Taktouk’s barrister, Stephen Lyon, told the Court of Appeal that Miss Semaan had argued that Fabregas’ obligations were only to their child, and not her.
He said she claimed she only received money to travel to Barcelona from London and financial support while she was there.
‘Mr Fabregas, we say, is quite clearly a resource of far greater significance than the wife let on in the course of her evidence,’ claimed Mr Lyon. ‘We say it is rather extraordinary that, less than three weeks after judgment was handed down, through his company in Barcelona he was offering to purchase (the flat). ‘What would happen is she would remain in occupation with £1.4 million in the bank, which was not the intention of Mr Justice Coleridge.
‘It is quite clear from the judgement that the broad thrust of his assessment was that Mr Fabregas was a wealthy boyfriend who provided her with funds when she was in Barcelona, paid for taxis, flights, and expensive presents. ‘He is clearly a resource of far greater significance. Had Mr Justice Coleridge known that, the outcome might well have been a different one.’ The court heard that Mr Taktouk had previously claimed that the flat was not theirs, but actually ultimately owned by his wealthy father.
However, Lord Justice Jackson refused Mr Taktouk the right to appeal.
He said there were no arguable grounds on which to suggest Mr Justice Coleridge’s assessment of the wife’s financial position was wrong.
Lord Justice Jackson told the court: ‘No doubt he will support the child, but the long-term support of Mr Fabregas for the wife is not something which could be counted on. ‘Even if the company controlled by Mr Fabregas buys the former matrimonial home, this will still not be a property which the wife owns. ‘She will live there only by the permission of Mr Fabregas and the fact that his company has made an offer – an insufficient offer, it would seem – does not materially change the facts as they were before Mr Justice Coleridge.’
Mr Taktouk and Miss Semaan married when they were 24 and living in Lebanon. They had two children, a boy and a girl, before their divorce. She gave birth to Fabregas’ baby girl, Lia, while he was on the pitch in a Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain two weeks ago. The World Cup-winning former Arsenal captain transferred to Barcelona in a £25 million move in 2011, taking him back to the club where he began his career. Although his application for leave to appeal was refused, Mr Taktouk has an application to block the sale of the flat due to be heard by a judge in the next few weeks.