A new record has been set. A divorce settlement record. Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, an owner of the French soccer club AS Monaco, has been ordered by Swiss courts to pay $4.5 billion to his ex-wife Elena Rybolovleva. In addition the judge ordered Rybolovlev to hand over $146 million in properties owned in Gstaad, Switzerland. She was also granted ownership of several properties in Geneva, though no value for them have been listed. Elena was also granted custody of their 13-year-old daughter, Anna. Marc Bonnant, Elana’s lawyer, has been quoted as saying it is “the most expensive divorce ever.”
Under Swiss law Elena is entitled to half of everything her former husband made during the duration of their marriage. In 2008, at the time of the initial divorce filings, Rybolovlev was estimated to be worth approximately $12 billion dollars, though he is currently valued at $8.8 billion. Elena’s lawyers all stated that they believed that this was a “complete victory” for their client. Switzerland has frozen Dmitry’s assets in the country as well as abroad, though a large majority of his wealth was transferred to Cyprus trusts in 2005. Switzerland currently has no legal aid treaty with Cyprus. If anything, this might turn into the hiccup of the settlement.
Lawyers representing Rybolovlev caution that Bonnant and his client should hold off on celebrating for now. They plan to file multiple appeals and don’t expect the final cash settlement to be any where near the original verdict. “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 Tetiana Bersheda, a representative of Dmitry. Divorce is often ugly, especially when billions of dollars are on the line. Though the settlement’s verdict has been handed down, it will probably be a few years before Elena sees any of the money.