Cesc Fabregas is at the centre of a bitter legal battle involving his Lebanese girlfriend and her property tycoon ex-husband. Daniella Semaan, 38, who gave birth to Fabregas’s child two weeks ago, separated from Elie Taktouk, a London property tycoon, in 2011 after 12 years of marriage. 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.
The girlfriend of Barcelona footballer Cesc Fabregas has been accused of lying about the extent of his wealth to enable them to buy the £7 million property that a High Court judge had ordered her former husband to sell.
During their divorce battle, she told judges that she received little financial support from the midfielder, with whom she was alleged to have had an affair, and that his obligations were only to their baby.
She said the 25-year-old paid for the cost of her travel between Barcelona and London and looked after her whilst she was in Spain but nothing more.
‘No doubt he will support the child, but the long-term support of Fabregas for the wife is not something which could be counted on,’ he said.
‘Even if the company controlled by 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 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 Justice Coleridge.’
As a result, Justice Coleridge, sitting at the High Court, ruled that Mr Taktouk must sell the former marital home in Belgravia, Central London, in order to award her a £1.4 million cash settlement.
However, three weeks after the judgment was handed down, a company controlled by Fabregas put in a £5.4 million bid for the Grade II-listed flat.
Stephen Lyon, for Mr Taktouk, told the Court of Appeal that Miss Semaan was trying to have her cake and eat it.
“Mr Fabregas, we say, is quite clearly a resource of far greater significance than the wife let on in the course of her evidence,” he said.
“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.”
Mr Lyon said it was “quite clear” from the judgment that the court had deemed Fabregas a wealthy boyfriend who provided Miss Semaan with funds when she was in Barcelona, paid for taxis, flights and expensive presents.
“He is clearly a resource of far greater significance,” he said. “Had Mr Justice Coleridge known that, the outcome might well have been a different one.”
Lord Justice Jackson dismissed the application on the grounds that the long-term support of Fabregas for Miss Semaan could not be guaranteed.
He said Mr Taktouk had not proved that the original assessment of his wife’s financial position was wrong.
“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,” he told the Court of Appeal.
“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 both 24 in their native Lebanon. They had two children, a boy and a girl, before divorcing.
Miss Semaan gave birth to a daughter, Lia, whilst Fabregas was on the pitch in a Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month.
The former Arsenal captain began his career as a trainee with Barcelona and transferred back to the club in 2011 for a reported £25 million fee.
Mr Taktouk’s application to block the sale of the flat will be heard within the next few weeks.
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