World’s largest divorce settlement reduced
Newspapers in Bedfordshire included news of the latest round in what was the world’s largest reported divorce settlement. A Russian oligarch won his appeal in a Swiss court and reduced the pay-out from $4.8 billion to a little over $600 million. The former partner of the 48 year-old billionaire is claiming that he sought to hide assets and will reportedly challenge the ruling. To date, the largest divorce settlement is thought to have been in the region of $2 billion by the art dealer Alec Wildenstein.
During his career, the Russian businessman worked as a doctor, stockbroker and entrepreneur before acquiring the majority stake in a fertiliser company. At one time, he was accused of murder and jailed, until the charges were dropped. He relocated to Switzerland after he sold his shares in the fertiliser company for $6.5 billion and subsequently started to receive death threats. His wealth included a number of properties in Switzerland, an estate in Saint Tropez, an art collection, the football club AS Monaco and what has been described as the largest penthouse in Monaco, purchased for $280 million.
However, excluded from the settlement are assets in a trust that he claimed he set up for the couple’s children. These include the $150 million island of Skorpios, where Jacqueline Kennedy was married, a Central Park penthouse purchased from the former head of Citigroup for $88 million, Donald Trump’s former Palm Beach property worth $95 million and a Hawaiian property bought from Will Smith for $20 million.
Marital assets can be held in a range of legal and financial structures, located both in the U.K. and in international jurisdictions. Clients may find that employing the resources of a skilled and experienced solicitor, whose goal is to protect their interests, may be invaluable in locating and unravelling complex assets arrangements.
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