Business | General

Man faces costliest divorce ever

Russian man is locked in a bitter war with his wife which could push him financially to the brink

  • By Andrew Osborn, The Telegraph Group Limited, London 2010
  • Published: 00:00 July 4, 2010
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Dmitry Rybolovlev, 43, a mining magnate ranked as Russia's 10th richest man, is locked in a bitter divorce case with Elena, his wife of 23 years and the mother of his two daughters.

Moscow: A Russian oligarch is facing the biggest divorce payment in history after his wife demanded a £3.8 billion (Dh21.2 billion) settlement.

Dmitry Rybolovlev, 43, a mining magnate ranked as Russia's 10th richest man, is locked in a bitter divorce case with Elena, his wife of 23 years and the mother of his two daughters.

At stake are a £72 million motor yacht, moored off the Italian coast and a string of properties from London to Singapore, including a £62 million mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, bought from Donald Trump. Rybolovlev's assets also include an art collection stuffed with paintings by Picasso, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Monet.

In court papers, Rybolovleva, also 43, has accused her husband of serial infidelity and of carousing on the couple's yacht with a number of other women. She is said to be "sick to the back teeth of his fondness for other women".

The case, which is being heard at a Swiss court, has exposed the publicity-shy Rybolovlev's high-rolling lifestyle. Lawyers acting on behalf of Rybolovleva, who runs a cultural foundation near Geneva, have indicated that she is looking for assets and cash worth close to £3.8 billion, or half the wealth that Rybolovlev has accrued since they were married in 1987.

Although Forbes estimated earlier this year that her husband was worth about £5.6 billion, she believes that he's worth a lot more and has hidden much of his wealth in offshore accounts.

If her claim is successful, it would be the most expensive divorce in history, outstripping Rupert Murdoch's £1.1 billion divorce from Anna, his wife of 32 years. When Russia's richest man, Roman Abramovich, split from his wife in 2007, his wife Irina could have been entitled to £1 billion.

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