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Russian wife awarded £2.7 billion in highest ever divorce settlement


A billionaire’s wife, Elena Rybolovlev (pictured above), has been awarded a £2.7 billion divorce settlement after one of the messiest break-ups in history that has lasted over six years.

A Swiss court ordered Russian billionaire, Dmitry Rybolovlev, to fork over roughly £2.7 billion of his assets to his former wife, Elena.

That’s half of Dmitry’s immense fortune.

Elena’s lawyers have claimed the settlement was a huge victory for their client.

The world's 147th richest man according to Forbes, Dmitry, 47, had initially attempted to conceal the full extent of his assets via offshore ventures to avoid the large divorce payout.

Just when his marriage was falling apart with Elena, also 47 years old, Dmitry set up a separate trust under his 24-year-old daughter Ekaterina’s name.

Dmitry Rybolovlev with an unidentified women in April 2012

It was with this very trust that Dmitry bought a 66% stake in the Monaco Football Club, snapped up the Greek private island of Skorpios from the shipping heir Athina Onassis Roussel, and finally an apartment in New York City for whopping £52 million.

According to a statement by Elena’s lawyers, "the judgement shows that already that, for the Geneva Tribunal of First Instance, 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."

The ruling by the Geneva Tribunal - made public on Monday - also granted his ex-wife custody of the couple’s younger daughter Anna, 13.

It has taken six years for the settlement to be finalised in court.

Elena began divorce proceedings in Switzerland in 2008, winning a freeze on some of her husband’s assets including the majority ownership in AS Monaco, a stake in the Bank of Cyprus and a £56 million Palm Beach, Florida home.

She also later sued him the United States under the accusation that Dmitry was trying to shield his US properties from the divorce proceedings.

The settlement is an amount completely un-heard of for a Russian oligarch and across the world, making her richer than Formula One chief, Bernie Ecclestone.

Under the historic divorce payout, Dmitry is to give his former wife half of the property deeds to their two former homes in Geneva. It also orders him to hand over hugely valuable items of antique furniture and jewellery.

The couple met as university students in Perm, Russia and married in 1987. Dmitry amassed his immense fortune from potash mining, dubbing him with the nickname as "the fertilizer king."

It is expected that Dmitry will try to appeal the ruling, however, Elena’s camp have said they were confident the court decision would be upheld.

Words: Esther Hong, Images: Rex Features



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