A US court has ordered Google to hand over the personal emails of the son of a Russian oligarch as part of a bitter £453m divorce case.
Judge Virginia DeMarchi in California told the US tech group to surrender Temur Akhmedov’s emails for use as evidence in a lawsuit brought by his mother, Tatiana Akhmedova, the wife of an ally of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president.
Ms Akhmedova has gone to court in the US and the UK in an attempt to force her ex-husband, Farkhad Akhmedov, to pay in one of the UK’s largest divorce settlements.
Google said the order was a breach of its customer’s privacy.
The divorce case, which is being funded by litigation financier Burford Capital, has led to a legal battle over assets including a helicopter, a private jet and a superyacht called the Luna that used to belong to Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.
Google sought to block the order to give up the emails this week on the basis that to do so would infringe Mr Akhmedov’s right to privacy because he had not given consent to share them.
Ms DeMarchi said Google’s concern for the “privacy and security of its account holders’ communications” was “commendable” but ruled the request did not breach the US Stored Communications Act, which governs voluntary and compelled disclosure of emails.
Google was ordered to produce all emails, documents and other information connected to two email accounts and preserve the accounts for 90 days.
The order comes days before the Akhmedovs