Russian football baron’s ex-wife wins $4.48bn in World’s ‘most expensive divorce payout

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GENEVA (AFP) – A Swiss court has awarded the ex-wife of the Russian billionaire owner of French football club AS Monaco the equivalent of half his fortune in their divorce, a Geneva daily reported on Monday.

Le Temps said the Geneva court had on May 13 ordered Dmitry Rybolovlev to hand over four billion Swiss francs (3.3 billion euros, $4.48 billion) to his former wife Elena, who lives in the Swiss city.

A spokesman for the Geneva court declined to comment when contacted by AFP, saying that details of rulings were only provided to the parties to a case.

Dmitry Rybolovlev and  an unidentified woman

Dmitry Rybolovlev and an unidentified woman

Rybolovlev and his ex-wife have been battling since 2008 over the terms of their divorce, as she sought a major slice of his estimated nine-billion-dollar (6.6-billion-euro) fortune, which he made in the potassium industry.

Elena Rybolovleva reportedly also won custody of the couple’s 13-year-old daughter Anna, as well as his half of the property deeds to their former home in Cologny, an upscale area of Geneva.

The couple, who wed in Cyprus, were married for 23 years.

Rybolovlev bought AS Monaco in December 2011, and has since splashed out on players in a bidding race against Qatari-owned Paris Saint Germain.

Although his club is based in the tiny principality of Monaco, it plays in the top football league of neighbouring France.

Rybolovlev, who lives in Monaco, also has an estate in the southern French resort of Saint Tropez.

He also owns the Greek island of Skorpios, which he bought from the Onassis dynasty, a villa in Miami that previously belonged to business magnate Donald Trump, and one in Hawaii that was purchased from Hollywood star Will Smith.

Since splitting from her husband, Elena Rybolovleva has been followed almost round the clock by private detectives, she told the Swiss financial magazine Bilan in a rare interview in January.

In February, she was questioned by police in Cyprus on suspicion of stealing a diamond ring reportedly worth tens of millions of euros, and released without charge.

The Rybolovlev family filed a complaint accusing the woman of stealing a valuable piece of jewellery that media reports said was worth between 25-50 million euros ($34-68 million) and belonged to a family trust fund.

The trust fund had been set up for the benefit of the couple’s daughters, Anna and Katia, a 25-year-old showjumper.

Rybolovlev was one of the many large Russian depositors in the Bank of Cyprus who suffered a 47.5 percent “haircut” on savings over 100,000 euros ($140,000) in last March’s international bailout of the financially troubled island.

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