Malaysian king Muhammad V, divorces Russian model

Malaysian king Sultan of Kelantan Sultan Muhammad V, 50, has divorced his wife, former Russian beauty pageant contestant Rihana Oksana Voevodina, 26, after a marriage of just over a year.

They were said to have married on June 7 last year, with reports that the Sultan had abdicated his throne.

The New Straits Times, quoting sources, said the divorce was finalised on July 1, following the filing of documents at the Singapore Syariah Court on June 22.

Malaysian Sultan with Rihana Oksana Voevodina, the Russian beauty queen

This latest development, however, is not reflected on Rihanna’s official Instagram page, @rihanapetra, which has 341,000 followers. There are only 14 posts on the account, most of them centred on the couple’s relationship, her background, her son and the details of their wedding.

Claims that their marriage was in troubled waters and allegations of divorce emerged as early as January, although it was vehemently denied by Rihana’s father, Andrei Ivanovich Gorbatenko, an orthopaedic surgeon who was quoted as saying: “It’s nonsense. I do not read the Internet, but I would have been the first to know.”

Rihana with Malaysian Sultan

At the same time, Sultan Muhammad V was undergoing the process of stepping down as Agong, following a meeting by the Conference of Rulers on Jan 2. Sultan Muhammad resumed his duties as Kelantan ruler on Jan 6.

The cause of the couple’s divorce remains the subject of speculation, although a copy of the divorce certificate that was circulating online — confirmed by a source to be genuine — seems to hint at a serious matter because it was a “talak tiga” divorce.

Also known as talaq baayin, or the irrevocable divorce, it is the most severe divorce in Islam. The couple cannot remarry unless the woman marries another man, and this man, of his own free will, divorces her or dies.

Vivien Okeyia

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