For most people, having to give up their favorite table or piece of art in a divorce is rough, but it’s nothing compared to the $4.5 billion that Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev will have to give to his ex-wife Elena Rybolovleva, who he had been with for twenty-four years. This amounts to half of Rybolovlev’s entire fortune. While it is a substantial amount, he will still be able to live more than just comfortably. This settlement has been in the court system for six years, and it turns out that this is the most expensive divorce in history.
The Bitter Dispute
The multibillionaire was not happy with the divorce or the six years of battle. His ex-wife’s lawyer also asserts that he tried to hide some of his wealth in offshore ventures. Rybolovlev made the bulk of his money through a fertilizer business, and he is the owner of many properties around the world, including some in the United States, and a Greek Island worth $100 million. The two had gone back and forth on the properties and the amount for the settlement since 2008.
During that time, they’d also been fighting over custody of their daughter, who is now 13. The courts decided that in addition to the $4.5 billion, Ms. Rybolovleva would also receive custody of their daughter, and a home they had in Cologny in Geneva. His ex-wife also claims a $50 million ownership of a property he had bought in NYC for his daughter, as well as in Skorpios Island, another property be bought for his daughter. Many will note that the Onassis family once owned the island, and it was the site of the wedding between Jacqueline Kennedy, the former first lady, and Aristotle Onassis.
His ex-wife claims that he was using marital property to buy assets through LLCs and trusts, and was trying to keep certain assets beyond her reach. Some of those assets include a $295 million stake in the Bank of Cypress, a home in Palm Beach, FL worth $95 million and formerly owned by Donald Trump, and majority ownership of French soccer club AS Monaco.
Mr. Rybolovlev has been having private detectives follow his ex-wife around since the split. She was actually questioned by police in February in suspicion of stealing a diamond ring that she borrowed from her daughter and did not return. The ring, it seems, belonged to a trust. She was released without charge, though.
A Deserved Settlement
Elena may well deserve the settlement, though, having put up with, and stayed by the side of, a man with more than just a checkered past. She was with him when he made his wealth, and was even with him when he was in jail after being accused of murdering a competitor. He was unfaithful as well, and she describes parties that he had on his yachts. She could not take being in the relationship any longer, and it is quite easy to see why.