According to a recent story in the UK’s Daily Mail, Elie Taktouk, the estranged husband of Daniella Semaan, girlfriend of Barcelona soccer star Cesc Fabregas, is alleging that that the soccer star was involved in a property fraud. Although the UK’s High Court seems skeptical of the allegations, they are interesting from an investigative standpoint, regardless of whether the High Court ultimately tosses the suit.
In 2013, as a part of their divorce settlement, a UK family judge ordered that Taktouk and Semaan sell their London flat in order to award Semaan a £1.4 million cash settlement. Three weeks after this order was handed down, a company controlled by Fabregas put in a £5.4 million bid to purchase the flat. Although Taktouk challenged the sale to Fabregas, the judge refused to block it and Fabregas ultimately became the owner of the couple’s former marital home.
Taktouk contended then, and still contends now, that Fabregas got the flat significantly cheaper than he should have and that others were willing to purchase the pad for upwards of £7 million. A hearing re-examining these allegations will take place later on this year. Although here, it was no secret that Fabregas was the purchaser of the marital home, it underscores the need to take an interdisciplinary approach to divorce at times.
When people think of the divorce process, they probably envision an embattled couple, their two lawyers and a judge. In reality, there can be many other people involved. For one, we, as investigators, are frequently called on to help clients find hidden assets or uncover any other kind of fraudulent activity.
We’ll dig in and help clients figure out what kind of property or other assets their spouse holds. Hypothetically, maybe in this case Semaan was unaware of other properties owned by Taktouk, which might each have had millions of dollars of art sitting in them. But beyond identifying hidden assets, we also work with a network of other professionals such as property valuation experts, forensic accountants and computer forensic experts.
We don’t know the degree to which a property valuation expert was involved in this case, but you can see how the testimony of one might have at least given the UK judge pause before permitting Fabregas to purchase the marital home for £5 million. Also at issue in this particular case, was the amount of financial support Fabregas provided to Semaan at the time. That is, whether or not Taktouk should have been on the hook for Semaan’s living expenses if she already had her footballing boyfriend covering them. Again, we don’t know the degree to which a forensic accountant may have been involved here, but a forensic accountant might have been helpful to examine just how much money from Fabregas was going in and out of Semaan’s accounts.