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AS Monaco owner ordered to pay $4.5 billion in most expensive divorce in history

Dmitry Rybolovlev

President of the football club AS Monaco, Dmitry Rybolovlev attends the french league two soccer match Monaco vs Caen, Saturday, May 4, 2013, in Monaco stadium. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)


AS Monaco owner Dmitry Rybolovlev’s net worth is about to be cut in half, if a Swiss court’s divorce decision stands. On Monday, the Russian oligarch and his ex-wife received notice that Elena Rybolovlev is to receive a $4.5 billion settlement in addition to custody of the couple’s 13-year-old daughter as well as properties in Switzerland and Germany. Currently with a net worth of $8.8 million, the 47-year-old Russian could see his status as one of the world’s richest people compromised by his divorce.

Lawyers for Rybolovlev, who made his fortune in potash, said the total is likely to be reduced on appeal. Lawyers for his ex-wife, however, touted the total as the most expensive divorce decision in history.

From NBC News’s report:

“There will definitely be a new appellate review and therefore this judgment is not final given the existence of two levels of appeal in Switzerland,” said (Dmitry Rybolovlev’s lawyer) Tetiana Bersheda.

A separate statement by Bonnant and two other lawyers in the case, (Elena Rybolovlev lawyerrs) Corinne Corminboeuf Harari and Caroline Schumacher, called the record judgment “a complete victory” for her and said that under Swiss law she was entitled to half the fortune he made during their marriage. Most of that fortune was transferred to Cyprus-based trusts in 2005.

Why Cyprus? Switzerland has no legal aid treaty with the country. Though the couple started divorce proceedings in 2008, it appears the Monaco owner saw the end coming three years earlier.

It makes the prospect of obtaining the award tenuous, but according to the ex-wife’s lawyers, the decision still sent a message.

The three lawyers said Monday’s ruling demonstrated that “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.”

On the field, this is unlikely to have any effect on Monaco, who should become a more self-sustaining engine after a few turns in Champions League. Off the field, it’s still unclear if Rybolovlev will pay (or how much).

But as far as headline settlements go, you have to give it to Elena Rybolovlev and her representation. There’s no way $4.5 billion fails to impress.