Texan property tycoon who claimed he he had no cash and was £55m in debt is ordered to pay his ex-wife £5.7m after he was spotted posing with a £400 bottle of red wine and boasting about his ‘beautiful year’ on social media
- Preston Haskell IV, 53, married Alesia Vladimirovna, 39, in Moscow in 2003
- The High Court heard Haskell’s cocaine and alcohol abuse ended his marriage
- He was also accused of infidelity during their tempestuous 11-year relationship
- The High Court has ordered Haskell to hand his ex-wife some £5.7 million
An unfaithful property tycoon who claimed he had no cash and told his ex-wife to sell her engagement ring to pay for her upkeep has been ordered to hand her £5.7m after being spotted boasting of his ‘beautiful life’ on social media.
Preston Haskell IV and ex-model wife, Alesia, enjoyed a lavish lifestyle during an 11-year relationship, but their marriage was blighted by his ‘serial infidelity’ and drink and drug use, a court heard.
Party-loving Mr Haskell threw £1m parties and socialised with the rich and famous, while his wife was a member of the exclusive 5 Hertford Street club, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had their first date.
He made his £160m fortune in the property and restaurant business.
Preston Haskell IV, pictured leaving the High Court in London, pictured, has been ordered to hand over £5.7 million to his estranged wife Alesia
The High Court heard Haskell’s marriage to Alesia Vladimirovna, pictured, collapsed due to his unfaithfulness and ‘abuse of cocaine and alcohol’
The marriage collapsed in 2016 due to his unfaithfulness and ‘abuse of cocaine and alcohol,’ a judge said, sparking a bitter court war over his millions – or lack thereof.
Mr Haskell supported his wife for two years after their split, but last year when he realised they were not going to get back together he denounced her as a ‘gold-digger,’ said the judge.
He claimed he had nothing to give his ex-wife, who he said he had given a ‘Cinderella life’, because he owed £55m to others, and was only getting by due to bail-outs from his super-rich dad.
But after a week-long court battle, top family judge Mr Justice Mostyn has now ordered Mr Haskell to shell out sums totaling about £5.7m to the mother of his three children.
The ruling came after the judge saw social media posts, including one of the tycoon boasting about his ‘beautiful year’ and posing with a £400 bottle of vintage red wine.
Mr Justice Mostyn, sitting in the Family Court in London, said that despite Mr Haskell’s claim to have no ready cash, the evidence painted a picture of a man enjoying a high standard of living.
The judge also slammed the husband, saying it was ‘bordering on the grotesque’ for Mr Haskell to have asked his wife to sell her £100,000 engagement ring to pay for her upkeep.
The court heard that the tycoon, 53, and his 39-year-old wife had met and married in Moscow in 2003
The court heard that the tycoon, 53, and his 39-year-old wife had met and married in Moscow in 2003, but in latter years had a £3.3m family home in Chelsea.
Mr Haskell, whose father built a US construction empire, and his wife, who works as a personal style consultant, moved to London in 2013.
‘After their arrival in London in September 2013, the parties enjoyed a superior lifestyle dwelling, in high-quality rented accommodation,’ said the judge.
‘Unfortunately, the marriage was blighted by the husband’s serial infidelity and abuse of cocaine and alcohol.
‘The wife issued a divorce petition on 24 November 2016 and commenced her claim for financial remedies on the same day.
‘On 21 December 2016, the parties physically separated, and although they discussed reconciliation they never cohabited again.’
The judge said Mr Haskell had continued supporting his ex, while himself enjoying a ‘high lifestyle’ during 2018.
But he continued: ‘In January 2019, the husband reached the conclusion that a reconciliation was not going to work and announced that the parties would proceed to a divorce.
‘At that point, everything changed. His attitude to the wife became unremittingly punitive.
The couple moved to London in 2013 and moved into a £3.3 million home in Chelsea, pictured
‘He denounced her as a gold-digger and began a process of financial attrition which has led to the present dire situation where the wife and children are shortly to be evicted from their home in central London and made homeless.’
Mr Haskell began claiming he had no money and their lives would have to change, as re-focusing of his business interests had left him without ready cash.
In January last year alone, he cancelled the lease on their home – leaving her now only a month from eviction – told her she had to get her own phone contract and cancelled her membership of the exclusive 5 Hertford Street club.
‘In contrast, his American Express statement records that, in the month up to 22 January 2019, he had spent on that card alone nearly $19,000,’ said the judge.
Mr Haskell had displayed ‘insidious coercive control,’ demanding that she account for everything she spent and get his written permission before withdrawing money from her account, he added.
In March last year, a High Court judge ordered that he pay her £45,700 per month in maintenance, more than double what Mr Haskell had offered to give.
But he failed to stump up all the cash and, by the time of the hearing of the divorce battle last month, owed her £310,000 in unpaid back maintenance.
Ruling that she should receive lump sums totaling nearly £5.7m from her ex, the judge said Mr Haskell’s business affairs may be in a state of flux, but rejected his claim that he is in a ‘dire’ financial situation.
‘What was the husband doing, or not doing, from March until December 2019?’ he said.
‘He did not sell any of his assets. Nothing has been disposed of. He continued to enjoy his high lifestyle.
‘Thus, the wife was able to establish by looking at the husband’s postings on social media that he was on holiday in South Africa in April (when he posted a picture of himself paragliding with the caption ‘life is beautiful’); in Turkey in May; in St Tropez in June; in Ibiza in July; in Switzerland in July in order to attend a party hosted by the US ambassador to that country; and in December…at his beautiful home in Cape Town.
‘On 31 May, 2019, he posted a picture of himself holding a bottle of Château Haut-Brion 1966 with the caption: ‘It was a beautiful year’.’
Through companies and a trust, he owns a ‘magnificent’ £6.5m villa with ‘outstanding’ ocean views in Cape Town and another ‘fine villa’ worth about £1m in Johannesburg, the judge added.
‘No attempt has been made to sell either of these properties,’ he said.
‘If the husband’s financial position was really as dire as he proclaims, these would be the first to go under the hammer.
‘The husband maintains an office in Moscow where he employs numerous members of staff. Not one has been let go in this supposed time of crisis.’
He continued: ‘I do not take into account any value of the wife’s engagement ring. The husband was very keen that I should do so, asserting that it was worth perhaps £100,000.
‘It is bordering on the grotesque that the husband should be expecting the wife to liquidate this ring.’
Mr Haskell has to pay his ex £647,732 by the start of next month and another £5.181m in March 2022, when the judge said Mr Haskell’s business interests should have come to fruition.
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