Millions for freedom: The 5 most expensive Russian oligarch divorces

AP
From Roman Abramovich to Vladimir Potanin, here are the five wealthy Russians whose messy separations cost them dearly.

Mind-blowing settlement figures, mudslinging, and lengthy legal battles - these businessmen had a rough time sharing their fortune with ex-wifes and paid a high price for their freedom. Some of these couples are still at odds with one particular case involving a $7 billion claim!

1. Roman and Irina Abramovich ($300 million)

The famous Russian oligarch and owner of Chelsea FC, Roman Abramovich has been married and divorced three times. Yet, the most expensive of his divorces turned out to be with his second wife Irina, a former Aeroflot-stewardess whom he married in 1991.

When the couple filed for divorce on a consensual basis in 2007 (some reported him already seeing his future third wife Daria Zhukova), the media expected it would leave her the world’s richest ever divorcee with an estimated $5.5 billion fate took a different course.

The sides agreed for a mere $300 million settlement including a house in Britain and one in Moscow, a yacht, and a private plane. Besides, Roman agreed to cover all expenses for the five children they had together.

2. Oleg Deripaska and Polina Yumasheva ($440 million)

The Russian billionaire and co-owner of Russian energy company En+ Group Oleg Deripaska ranks 30th wealthiest businessman in Russia with $3.6 billion in assets. Over a year ago, he quietly divorced his wife Polina but didn't leave her penniless. After all, they had been married since 2001 and had two kids.

According to reports, in October 2017 she received 6.9 percent of shares in En+ Group which were worth $440 million after the company's IPO in London. Today, the value of her shares have dropped a bit, but still are worth around $310 million.

3. Farkhad Akhmedov and Tatiana Akhmedova ($584 million)

The divorce battle between these two saw the largest-ever settlement to be ordered by a British court - $584 million, more than 40 percent of Akhmedov’s fortune. Yet, despite the official ruling in 2017, the ex-wife of the Russian gas and oil tycoon Farkhad Akhmedov Tatiana has yet to receive a penny.

The billionaire who fled the UK refused to pay, hid his assets abroad, and continues to dispute the court’s decision saying that he made a “stellar” contribution to acquiring this wealth and claiming that there has been an earlier divorce (in 2000 in Russia) which supersedes the British judgment. The UK High Court ruled that the Moscow divorce papers had been forged and Tatiana, who is a British citizen, is still fighting for her share of Akhmedov’s assets.

The couple married in Moscow in 1993 and later moved to London and had two children. They both accused each other of having affairs but Tatiana insisted that their relationship continued until 2013.

4. Dmitry Ribolovlev and Elena Ribolovleva ($603 million)

The wife of Russian oligarch Dmitry Ribolovlev Elena filed for divorce in 2008 after 23 years of marriage saying that she was tired of his infidelities. Her court documents described parties on lavish yachts where her husband shared some “young conquests with his friends and other oligarchs.” The legal battle resulted in a Geneva court ordering Ribolovlev to pay $4.5 billion to his ex-wife in 2014 - deemed one of the biggest divorce settlements in history.

Yet, the story did not end there. In June 2016, the Russian oligarch managed to have this figure sharply cut to just $603 million and two houses in Switzerland. Thanks to the multi-million settlement, Elena is ranked among the wealthiest women in Russia by Forbes.

5. Vladimir Potanin and Natalia Potanina ($6.95 billion?)

The former wife of the Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin is still fighting for her share of her ex-husband’s fortune. Even though the couple officially divorced in 2014 in Russia, Natalia claims she’s been unable to receive a fair hearing and settlement in the country because her ex is a close friend of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

This summer, Natalia, who’s been a British resident since 2016, launched a record-breaking lawsuit in the UK High Court claiming a third of her ex-husband’s $18.1 billion fortune, which is as much as £5.76 billion ($6.95 billion). 

Married in 1983, the Potanins had three children and it was during their time together that Vladimir acquired his wealth. The marriage ended when he started a relationship with a younger woman (his current wife Ekaterina).

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