An embarrassing matter is being reported from a UK court case involving Malaysia’s former King and the current Sultan of Kelantan, Muhammad V.
His third wife, the Russian born Rihana Oksana Gorbatenko, was discarded by the sultan in 2019, shortly after she had given birth to his only known son who appears to have likewise been discarded as his heir.
Oksana holds a degree in economics but has also worked as a model and won the title of Miss Moscow in 2015. Last week she told a court in London, where she now resides, that having informed her he was divorcing her the Sultan only agreed to pay her a ‘derisory’ £1,350 a month to bring up their royal off-spring.
To understand the value of £1,350 in the London think of what you could purchase with the equivalent RM1,350 in KL. A two bedroomed flat in London costs about £1 million to buy or at least $2,000 a month to rent (before utilities are paid for let alone the basic costs of food and clothing).
It would therefore appear to be a highly parsimonious allowance for a grand and wealthy monarch towards his former wife and son and indeed the Scrooge-like behaviour has attracted the interest of Britain’s tabloids which have started covering the case.
Of particular interest is the fact that the allowance being offered to this banished former spouse appears to have been dreamed up by the Sultan himself without recourse to any independent or legal arbitration on the matter.
The concept of his former wife being entitled to some form of rights appears not to have played a part in the arrangement by Malaysia’s former King (the only one to have abdicated, partly, it is believed, over the scandal of his secret marriage to a foreign born wife who was later revealed to have posed for saucy pictures in a jacuzzi).
None of this is likely to recommend itself to a foreign court in a democratic country and it is being presented as something of a scandal in the British press, yet there appears to have been little or no coverage of the matter yet in Malaysia.
Attempts that were made by representatives of the sultan in the London court to quash the case appear to have been so far dismissed by the judge, making it now look inevitable that there will be a ruling on the matter, which on all precedents will be likely to require a far, far, far more generous settlement on his wife and son than he personally appears to deem appropriate.
Meanwhile, it is also being reported that Mohammad has found himself a new European wife, this time from the Czech Republic. She should perhaps bear in mind that luxuries now might be replaced with hard times on a shoe string should the Sultan choose to move on again and chuck her away along with any children she may have by then produced.
After all, that is how most people in Kelantan get by, given the state is the poorest in mainland Malaysia with 12% living below the poverty income level (now set at RM2,200 pm which is more than he effectively allocates his ex-wife) although he naturally lives in palatial splendour.
See the latest report on the court case by the UK Daily Mail newspaper below, which points out that the nature loving sultan keeps wild animals in his royal gardens, at presumably greater cost than he presently expends on his wife and child:
A Russian beauty queen whose marriage to the former king of Malaysia collapsed weeks after she gave birth is launching a legal battle against her ex-husband to get an increase on a ‘derisory’ £1,200 a month child maintenance payment.
London-based Oksana Voevodina, 30, has been in contact with a team of British lawyers in a bid to settle a long-running bitter dispute over the future of their three year old son.
Her lawyer Nicholas Wilkinson told the court the issue concerned ‘the wealthy ex-King of Malaysia who seeks to suggest $1,500 [£1,200] a month is sufficient to provide for his ex-wife and child.’
He told the court the former King, who abdicated in 2020 after a backlash against his marriage, had failed to comply with a previous court order as part of his ex-wife’s claim when he was asked to reveal his assets. And Mr Wilkinson described the current maintenance sum, which will be paid until the child is 18, as ‘derisory’.
The former Miss Moscow had also received a £12,000 lump sum payment after her divorce following a marriage that ended in 2019 – after just a year.
But Mr Wilkinson said of the divorce settlement: ‘There is manifest injustice.’
Voevodina, who has also worked in investment and has returned to her former career of modelling, arrived at the court flanked by her three lawyers.
The 30-year-old was dressed in a tailored black satin trouser suit, stiletto heels and clutching a Prada handbag.
She did not speak before Mrs Justice Leiven of the Family Division of the High Court but scribbled on post it notes throughout the day long hearing.
The former King, who is reported to be worth millions, is understood to have never met his son, who cannot be named for legal reasons. And the sultan, who remains the ruler of Kelantan in Malaysia, is believed to have never publicly acknowledged the child as his.
Oksana lives in the UK with her son and a female friend from Ukraine.
Michael Horton, KC, for the ex-King, had attempted to challenge Oskana’s eligibility to seek a High Court ruling as she had only been resident here for a year.
But the judge ruled that she had met the eligibility test to bring an application before the High Court.
Mr Horton also said the ex-husband would be seeking sovereign state immunity which would absolve him from any ruling that is made. The judge ruled that can be decided at a further hearing.
She was divorced by her twice wed husband under strict Islamic law a month after the birth of their son.
He remains ruler of Kelantan and is reported to have wed another European beauty.
The judge set a further hearing for March and ruled the ex-King should pay his ex-wife’s legal costs of £15,000.
Meanwhile the sultan, known as Faris to his friends, has taken another European beauty as his new queen consort.
Czech-born Yana Yakubková, 35, is now known as Diana Petra Abdullah and was conferred the title of Sultanah of Kelantan on August 2.
The sultan is an animal-lover who has been described in his homeland as ‘calm, modest and has the people’s interests at heart.’
He is said to have hundreds of animals, including lions and buffalo, in his own mini safari park.
He secretly married Oksana in a low-key Islamic ceremony in Kelantan on June 7 2018 after reportedly meeting in Europe the previous year.
Recalling their extravagant reception in Moscow, Oksana has said previously: ‘It was like a fairytale because every girl dreams about a beautiful marriage and so my husband decided to make this present for me.’
Their summer wedding was followed by a glittering reception in Moscow which announced their unlikely union to the world.
Her son was said to have been conceived on a romantic Australian royal holiday just weeks after the ceremony.
The sultan took a leave of absence from his position as rumours of the wedding emerged.
Their marriage was greeted by shock in the conservative Malaysian state, not least because of the 23-year age gap.
And the union was met with unease by Islamic leaders despite his bride converting to the religion.
It was hit by further controversy when the Russian media ran claims that five years before meeting Faris, Oksana had taken part in a lurid reality TV show.
Their child was born on May 21, 2019.
Yet, just four weeks later, he abruptly divorced Oksana using the Triple Talaq Islamic procedure.
Under the practice a Muslim man ends his marriage by saying ‘You are divorced’ in Arabic three times.
Oksana has insisted she heard about it from the Internet.
There were claims the then king was furious that details leaked out about the Moscow wedding party when he had wanted it to remain hidden and ‘private’ – along with photos from the reality TV show of his wife in a swimming pool clinch with a male participant in Mexico.