In what may be the largest divorce settlement in world history, British Columbia soccer fans might have heard that the owner of AS Monaco, Dmitry Rybolovlev, was ordered to pay his ex-wife more than $4.5 billion. The divorce was filed in Switzerland, and that country’s law entitles the former wife to 50 per cent of what the Russian billionaire earned during the marriage. According to the Geneva Tribunal of First Instance, this amounts to the cash settlement in addition to several Geneva properties.
The court judgment also caused Rybolovlev to lose custody of the couple’s teenage daughter. At the time that the divorce was filed in 2008 after 21 years of marriage, Rybolovlev was estimated to be worth $12.8 billion; the original settlement demand was $6 billion. The fortune, which was primarily due to potash mining, was mostly distributed to trusts in Cypress in 2005.
Because Cypress has no legal aid treaty with Switzerland, Rybolovlev’s ex-wife may have problems collecting the money that the court granted her. However, the Swiss court did provisionally freeze all of the billionaire’s domestic and foreign assets. His lawyer said that the $1.5 billion settlement reduction confirmed the validity of the asset transfers to the trusts, which occurred several years before divorce proceedings began.
The province only grants a divorce if a couple has been living apart for at least one year or if there is the presence of adultery or cruelty. If a couple chooses to separate first, it is often recommended to draft a separation agreement, which can lay out the terms of a future divorce regarding asset division, spousal support and child support. This can normally be done through mediation, but litigation may be necessary if the couple cannot come to an agreement.
Source: The Huffington Post Canada, “Dmitry Rybolovlev, Russian Oligarch, Ordered To Pay More Than $4.5 Billion In Divorce“, May 20, 2014
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