Dmitry Rybolovlev: Most expensive divorce costs Russian billionaire £2.7bn

 

Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev has been ordered to pay about £2.7bn to his ex-wife in what could become the biggest divorce settlement in history.

In papers delivered on Monday to both parties, a court in Switzerland said Mr Rybolovlev, 47, one of the owners of French soccer club AS Monaco, must pay more than 4bn Swiss francs to Elena Rybolovleva, also 47.

The judgment also granted his ex-wife property in the ski resort of Gstaad worth 130.5m francs (£86m) and two other buildings in the wealthy Cologny area of Geneva, where the couple once lived together. It confirmed her custody of their 13-year-old daughter, Anna. The couple also has an adult daughter, Ekaterina.

Ms Rybolovleva’s lawyer Marc Bonnant called it “the most expensive divorce in history”, an unheard-of amount for Switzerland.

But Mr Rybolovlev's lawyer, Tetiana Bersheda, said that the judgment's cash order was likely to be whittled down during the appeal process. “There will definitely be a new appellate review and therefore this judgment is not final given the existence of two levels of appeal in Switzerland,” she said.

Elena Rybolovleva

A statement by Mr Bonnant and two other lawyers in the case said the record judgment was “a complete victory” for their client and that under Swiss law she was entitled to half the fortune he made during their marriage. Most of that fortune was transferred to Cyprus-based trusts in 2005.

The three lawyers said Monday's ruling demonstrated that “no one — not even a Russian tycoon who put his fabulous fortune into legal structures such as trusts and offshore companies — is above the law”.

But Mr Rybolovlev's lawyer suggested the opposite, praising the judgment for “confirming both the validity of the trusts created by Mr Rybolovlev and the validity of the asset transfer to them that occurred long before his wife initiated divorce proceedings”.

His ex-wife had demanded about £3.5bn from the man known as the “fertilizer king”, whose fortune from potash mining once made him the world's 79th richest person. He is now ranked 147th on the Forbes list of billionaires, with an estimated fortune of £5.2bn.

The couple met as university students in Perm, Russia, and married there in 1987. Divorce proceedings began in 2008.

Mr Rybolovlev and his daughter Ekaterina used money from the trusts to buy some of the most expensive properties in the US, including a penthouse apartment at Central Park West in New York and a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida.

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