A legal dispute spanning three countries and involving an estimated $1bn fortune went before the High Court recently. The key issue involves access to tissue samples from the oligarch’s body, currently held securely by a London coroner. This case is one example of the type of issue the courts face with the continuing rise of Wills and inheritance disputes.
In November 2014 Kakha Bendukidze died aged 58 in the InterContinental Hotel, Park Lane after undergoing heart surgery in Zurich.
His widow, Natalia Zolotova, had expected to inherit his riches. However that was thrown into doubt after Anastasia Goncharova came forward as his daughter. The widow insists that Miss Goncharova is not Mr Bendukidze’s daughter. In turn Miss Goncharova disputes the widow’s claim on the fortune, saying they had been separated for years before he died.
Miss Goncharova stated “I have known Kakha since I was 10 but only found out he was my father seven years ago. If she’s saying I’m not my father’s daughter, then hand over the DNA samples and prove it. It’s as simple as that.”
The High Court requested that the tissue samples taken during the post-mortem examination be sent for DNA genetic testing to settle the parentage dispute once and for all. This was fiercely resisted by the widow.
After the court considered the rights to possession and control of a body and any samples taken Miss Goncharova is reported to have secured an early victory when the Court ordered the samples be sent for testing. With multiple claims going on all around the World, and all that is at stake Miss Goncharova will no doubt hope that this proves to be a significant step forward in her case.
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