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A German court has ruled that the estate of the former shah of Iran's second wife, Soraya Esfandiari-Bakhtiari, belongs to her late brother's ex-chauffeur.

The ruling announced Tuesday by the Cologne state court comes nearly 15 years after Soraya's death. She named as heir her brother, Bijan Esfandiari, who lived in Cologne and died days after her. The court ruled that a short will the brother wrote in a notebook, naming his former chauffeur and private secretary as his heir, is valid.

The man had spent several years disputing part of the inheritance with relatives of Soraya. The court didn't specify its value.

Soraya married Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1951. Seven years later, the shah repudiated her in an Islamic divorce after they failed to have children.



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