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Society

Russian Oligarch to Write Ex-Wife Check for $4.5 Billion in Record-Breaking Divorce Case

| by Allison Geller

Love will cost you. A Russian oligarch is being forced to pay his ex-wife a $4.5 billion settlement in what is being called the biggest divorce case ever.

47-year-old Dmitry Rybolovlev has been ordered to pay ex-wife Elena Rybolovleva exactly 4,020,555,987 Swiss francs and 20 centimes, according to the Daily Mail. That adds up to $4.5 billion—roughly half of the oligarch’s fortune.

Marc Bonnant, the ex-wife’s lawyer, called the figure an “amicable settlement.” Mr. Rybolovlev, on the other hand, saw it as a “hammer blow,” Bonnant admitted, naming his client's case as “the most expensive divorce in history.”

The eye-popping settlement comes after six years of negotiations and 24 years of marriage. The proceedings took place in Geneva, where Ms. Rybolovleva resides in a lakeside mansion.

Mr. Rybolovlev came to fortune in the fertilizer business, he says. His assets include properties in the U.S., a resort in Saint Tropez, an art collection boasting works by Picasso and Van Gogh, a French soccer team and a Greek island.

The pair met more than three decades ago while studying in the Ural mountains. Mr. Rybolovlev’s humble beginnings did not last long—he was one of a small group of Russians to take advantage of the era of post-Soviet privatization. He has since sold the fertilizer business, Uralkali, that made him billions.

Mr. Rybolovlev’s life has been as dramatic as any Russian novel. He survived an arson attack that killed another billionaire and spent time in prison on a murder charge that was later dropped.

In the end, Ms. Rybolovleva said she could not take her husband’s constant philandering with his new “young conquests" and filed for divorce on New Year’s Eve of 2008.

Sources: Daily Mail

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