World’s Most Expensive Divorce

May 31, 2014 | Family Law News, Legal Perspective

Icon for author Brian Vertz Brian Vertz

She got less than half, but divorcee Elena Rybovleva, ex-wife of Russian fertilizer king Dmitri Rybovlev, age 47, can hardly complain about what she received in her recent divorce, billed as “the world’s most expensive.”  Out of a $12+ billion fortune, a Swiss divorce court carved out more than $4.5 billion for ex-wife Elena.

The stakes were high.  The New York Post outlined some of Mr. Rybovlev’s unbelievable holdings, including an artwork and furniture collection valued between $480 million and $800 million; a $138 million property in Gstaad; a $24 million property in Paris; about $50 million of real-estate holdings in Moscow; a tax-shelter property in Cyprus, and a $95 million Palm Beach estate. Rybolovlev also owned a $95 million jet, three Mercedes, one Bentley and one Rolls-Royce and kept bank accounts in Geneva, Singapore and London. The family had offshore holdings in Cyprus, the British Virgin Islands, Panama and the Jersey Islands.

The tactics were ruthless. Forbes Magazine reported that Rybolovlev purchased a $88 million New York apartment for their 22-year-old daughter Ekaterina, so she would have someplace to live during her college years. It was the most expensive house ever purchased in NYC. She wasn’t even going to college in New York.  After the divorce was filed, Mr. Rybovlev went on a spending spree, buying the New York apartment and later, the Greek isle of Skorpios, for his daughter, as well as mansions formerly owned by actor Will Smith and investor Donald Trump, and a French soccer club, AS Monaco, according to the Daily Mail. Eventually, six years of litigation wrapped up this month.

After the dust has settled, Mr. Rybovleva will remain one of the 100 richest men in the world. And his ex-wife ain’t doing badly. Next time, maybe he’ll get a prenup.

Source: Business Insider, Russian Billionaire Ordered To Pay $4.5 Billion In What Could Be The Biggest Divorce Settlement Ever (May 19, 2014)

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