Malawi-born tycoon of Robary Ltd dominates British press over $1.3 bn divorce, claims marriage was fake

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    Malawian-born mega rich Asif Aziz , known in Malawi for Robary Limited, has dominated headlines in the British newspaper as he is fighting to keep the bulk of $1.3 billion fortune in a London divorce case, claiming he obtained a ‘fake’ marriage certificate in Malawi so a child he had adopted with Tagilde Aziz, an Agolan, could get a passport.

    Asif Aziz leaves the Royal Courts of Justice in London, where he says his former “wife” Tagilde Aziz is not entitled to a share in a £1.1 billion fortune because they were never legally married. CREDIT: LAUREN HURLEY/PA

    Tagilde Aziz leaves the Royal Courts of Justice CREDIT: LAUREN HURLEY/PA

    Aziz, an investment executive aged 50, A is CEO and founder of property group Criterion Caption, which owns large portions of London’s West End including Trocadero entertainment complex in London’s Piccadilly Circus, 1 Leicester Square, and 1 Jermyn Street, St James’s..

    He wants a High Court judge in London to rescind a divorce pronouncement in November last year so that his former “wife” is not entitled to a share in a £1.1 billion fortune – because they were never actually married.

    But Mrs Aziz, who is in her 50s, disputes his claim and says they were married.

    She believes they were together for more than 20 years and she is entitled to a ‘fair share’ of the settlement.

    “’Mr West End’ property tycoon claims his ex-‘wife’ isn’t entitled to a share of £1.1bn fortune because their marriage certificate from Malawi was ‘faked’ to get their adopted child a UK passport,” reads a story in the Daily Mail of UK.

    Daily tabloid The Sun wrote: “Property tycoon tells court he was never legally married to his wife as he tries to stop her getting a share of his £1.1billion fortune.”

    The paper reports that the Royal Courts of Justice in Londonheard Mrs Aziz claim a Muslim ceremony of marriage had taken place in Malawi in 2002.

    But Mr Aziz said a fake marriage “certificate of convenience” had been issued.

    The Telegraph reported that Deborah Bangay QC, for Mrs Aziz said Mr Aziz was determined to ensure that Mrs Aziz should not receive “any entitlement”.

    “Mrs Aziz is entitled to – and does – rely on the presumption of marriage and the facts that the parties presented to the world for the totality of the period between 2002 and their separation,” she said.

    “It is for Mr Aziz credibly to explain…why he presented to the world for a period of two decades that he and Mrs Aziz were married.”

    She said an “unopposed” decree nisi had been pronounced and added: “The court need look no further than Mr Aziz’s obvious determination to an achieve overwhelming victory over Mrs Aziz at any cost.”

    “The parties have never been married, therefore there’s no marriage to be dissolved by this court,” Richard Harrison, the lawyer representing Asif Aziz, said at a hearing Wednesday. “I mean not married as a matter of English law.”

    According to Bloomberg, bankers and other financial professionals are often at the center at some of the biggest U.K. divorces. London courts have gained a reputation as being a more sympathetic place to play out high-stakes divorces, as generally speaking judges order a 50-50 split of assets, giving equal weight to the work of a wealth creator and a home maker.

    The amount of assets in the case is another source of controversy.

    Court documents prepared for Wednesday’s hearing on behalf of Tagilde Aziz said Asif Aziz had argued that “he has no capital, is a man of straw and has accumulated debts as a result of these proceedings in excess of 600,000 pounds.” He was arguing that his income is only 400,000 pounds per year, it said.

    Funds overseen by Criterion have invested in sites such as the, according to its website, and its most recent accounts show its revenue in the year to March 31, 2016, was 4.3 million pounds.

    The hearing continues.

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