A millionaire mother who abducted her two British daughters and took them to Ukraine has been named in a landmark ruling.
The daughter of one of Ukraine’s richest men, Anna Tigipko, 34, has refused to bring her children back to London after splitting with her husband in 2015.
The court has heard how the businesswoman, who ran a Harley Street clinic, met her future husband in Vienna in 2010. They married in Ukraine in 2012.
Anna Tigipko, 34, took her two children to Ukraine after splitting with her husband in 2015. Now she is refusing to return them to London
The couple lived in a Hampstead mansion until their marriage ended in late 2015. Both children were born in the UK.
After the break-up, Miss Tigipko moved up the road with the children into a £9million home but in 2017 she left Britain with her two daughters.
Although she had permission to take them away for a number of weeks, she has refused to bring them back to the country.
And despite her ‘arrogant disregard’ for English court orders to return the two girls, she was able to fight being identified in the British press.
The Daily Mail, along with The Times and the BBC, backed the father’s challenge to the secrecy surrounding the case.
Anna Tigipko’s father, former Ukrainian vice-prime minister Sergiy Tigipko, joined in her battle to keep the case secret
A ‘highly ruthless and manipulative’ businesswoman and daughter of former Ukrainian vice-prime minister Sergiy Tigipko, she marshalled a massive ‘army’ of top lawyers to try to thwart her ex-husband’s efforts to publicise his predicament. Her ‘heavyweight’ legal team included Lord Pannick QC and Alexander Cameron QC, brother of the former Prime Minister.
Oligarch Mr Tigipko 59, also fought the transparency bid. But a High Court judge has now allowed them to be identified, concluding that publicity could speed up their return. He said he was satisfied of Mr Tigipko’s ‘deep complicity’ in the affair.
The ruling could set a precedent, after Mr Justice Mostyn said ‘there is a strong public interest in far more press reporting of international child abduction’.
Gervase de Wilde, for the three media organisations, said at a prior hearing that ‘child abduction and associated litigation are a topic of high public interest.
The London-based father has both British and Russian citizenship. He cannot be named to protect his daughter’s identities. He hopes publicity will encourage his former wife into returning his children but fears for his safety in Ukraine.
Lord Pannick QC, for Miss Tigipko, unsuccessfully argued publicity would ‘intensify tensions and make it less likely to reach a resolution’.
But unusually, lawyers for the children’s guardian also backed publication of some details.
The father has not seen his girls since their abduction 14 months ago. He told The Times of his most recent conversation via video call, which lasted less than 30 seconds.
He said: ‘I could not even see my older daughter and my younger daughter said, ‘Hello daddy’ and then I heard Anna’s voice saying, ‘Tell him you’re busy’ and she put the phone down. I never wanted full custody. I always thought the mother should have them, and I still hold this general position.’
Their removal is ‘under consideration’ as a possible crime by the police, the court heard.
In a statement, Miss Tigipko said: ‘The children are happy and settled now in Ukraine and their needs are best catered for in Kiev.’