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April 16, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:40am

Russian businessman wins media-backed bid to partially lift reporting restrictions in family court fight

By PA Mediapoint

A rich Russian businessman embroiled in a family court battle with his Ukrainian ex-wife over the care of their two children has won a fight to allow journalists covering the case to name some names.

The businessman wanted the reporting restrictions, which barred journalists from revealing the identities of any the people involved, to be relaxed.

His bid was backed by editors at The Times, the BBC and Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Mail.

High Court judge Mr Justice Mostyn ruled in his favour, saying the businessman’s wife Ganna Tigipko, and her father Sergiy Tigipko, a wealthy Ukrainian politician and banker, can be named.

He said neither of the children nor their father can be named.

Tigipko took their children out of London to Ukraine in breach of an order made in a family court last year, the judge heard.

Police were also investigating, he was told.

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The businessman says allowing journalists to report the case more fully may help get the children back to London.

Tigipko and her father were against reporting restrictions being lifted, saying publicity that includes their names would harm the children.

Judges overseeing such cases normally bar children from being identified because of fears that publicity will cause them harm.

They do sometimes allow children whose whereabouts are unknown to be identified in the hope that publicity will help find them.

Mr Justice Mostyn analysed arguments about reporting in a private hearing at the Family Division of the High Court in London earlier this year, and made a decision in late January.

“Fundamentally, my decision is this: there is a reasonable prospect, if publicity is allowed, that its effect will be to make the mother and maternal grandfather see sense and to agree … to the return of the (children) to the land of their habitual residence to live in London under the care of both of their parents,” he said in a ruling.

“It is my judgment that publicity is positively in the interests of these children on the specific facts of this case.”

Tigipko and her father took part in the hearing by video link and were represented by British lawyers who were in court.

The judge had embargoed reporting of his decision to give them time to appeal.

Court of Appeal judges have now rejected challenges and Mr Justice Mostyn says names can be published.

Detail of the case emerged in a ruling published by Mr Justice Mostyn in April last year. That ruling followed earlier private hearings and did not identify anyone involved.

Tigipko, who had lived with the businessman and the children in London, wanted to move to Kiev, but Mr Justice Mostyn ruled that the youngsters should stay in London and see their father frequently.

He said the couple met in Vienna in 2010, married in Ukraine in 2012 and lived in Hampstead. Their marriage ended in 2015.

The businessman stayed at their home and Tigipko moved to a £9m property a few minutes away.

Both had developed new relationships.

The businessman told Mr Justice Mostyn it was unsafe for him to travel to Ukraine because his ex-wife’s father “wanted to hurt him” and could “easily” do so.

Tigipko said in a statement yesterday: “Everything I have done since my first husband left me in 2015 has been for the welfare of my children and nobody else.

“I have never sought to turn them against their father and have always said that he is welcome to visit them in Ukraine, which he is perfectly entitled to do on his British passport.

“It is my honestly held belief that the children are happy and settled in Ukraine now, and their needs are best catered for in Kiev where I can care for them.”

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