Achraf Hakimi
Achraf Hakimi Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Last week, headlines exploded with the news that Paris Saint-Germain defender Achraf Hakimi managed to escape the possibility of losing half his fortune to his ex-wife due to their divorce. It was said that he managed to do this because most of his assets were in the name of his mother, Saida Mouh, but this has now been labelled "fake news."

The mother of Hakimi's two children, Spanish actress Hiba Abouk, was said to have lost out on a huge divorce settlement after finding out that the Moroccan international barely had anything in his name. This drew mixed reactions from the public, with controversial influencer Andrew Tate openly praising Hakimi for what some call a brilliant move.

It is indeed an interesting story, with news outlets even claiming that Hakimi's salary from PSG goes straight to his mother's bank account. Furthermore, if he wishes to buy anything, even his clothes, he would have to ask his mother.

This may seem absurd to some, and French journalist and sports reporter Gilles Verdez has come out to flat out call the reports "fake news." In a report published on Le 10 Sport, Verdez said that the news saying that the bulk of Hakimi's €70 million fortune is in the hands of his mother is simply untrue.

"It's not true that he put the property in his mother's name, that wouldn't be possible," he said, adding that the move would not be possible in France where the player is currently based, nor in Spain where he and Abouk both grew up, nor in his native Morocco.

Meanwhile, Simon Bruce, partner at specialist high net worth family law firm Dawson Cornwell agreed that the move would not legally fly if the divorce case was filed in the UK. "Putting your wealth into the name of your mother or anyone else in order to prevent your wife getting hold of it would be a massive own goal in English divorce proceedings. The whistle would be blown on any behaviour like that in an English court," he said.

Bruce called the move "nonsense" saying that if the footballer had tried to evade the divorce settlement in this manner in the UK, his assets "would have been frozen, and the mother would be viewed as holding the money on behalf of the footballer."

If Hakimi had indeed transferred his assets to his mother to avoid a very expensive divorce, Bruce said that "this footballer would have been red carded if the proceedings had been in England."

To further support the same stance, Omar El Adlouni, a professor at French university La Sorbonne shared a post on LinkedIn wherein he also said that the move would not have been legal, and the news therefore fake.

He explained that European laws dictate that any assets earned by either spouse for the duration of the marriage are to be shared in case of divorce, and the transfer of such assets to evade the settlement is a criminal act.

The only way that the couple could have kept their assets separate before, during and after the marriage was through a signed contract, also known around the world as a prenuptial agreement. However, Abouk would have known if such a document existed as both parties need to sign it.

Apart from all these legal obstacles, Hakimi would have had to pay a mountain of tax if he had transferred his money to his mother in anticipation of the divorce. If he is found guilty of evasion, he could face up to five years in prison. This is all hypothetical of course, with the entire claim about the asset transfer currently still unconfirmed.

What's even more interesting about this story is that Hakimi's mother recently admitted that she was not aware that her son's fortune is under her name. However, she said that if he did, then she believes it is just right. "If he has taken any action to protect himself, I'm unaware of it," she reportedly said, adding, "If my son doesn't do this, he couldn't get rid of this woman."