Dividing 2, Dividing 9 Billion: A Look at History’s Most Expensive Divorce

History’s Most Expensive DivorceAssuming both spouses want out, the difficulties of divorce weigh down more on the side of splitting properties. Negotiations intensify relative to the value of properties at stake: every bit of jewelry, every patch of land, and every piece of priceless memorabilia can be fair game. Is all really fair in love and war, even when these two things overlap, and billions of dollars are involved? Maybe the story of a billionaire Russian oligarch’s divorce can enlighten us.

Under Pressure

In October 2015, 49-year-old Dimitry Rybolovlev was able to finalize his divorce with wife Elena. With an army of lawyers, Rybolovlev was able to fend off his spouse’s claim for half of his then-$9 billion fertilizer business fortune.

Many observers dismissed the complexities of the case as only “the Russian way of doing things”, but divorce lawyers from Joel S. Seidel & Associates note that the issues surrounding the divorce are traceable to more than just a dimming flame. Rybolovlev never wanted the divorce, but the pressures of having a fortune such as his, tied with the art fraud cases, friction with the Russian government, as well as constant relocation for fear of his family’s life became too much to handle.

Changed Yet Unharmed

Rybolovlev kept mostly to himself during the negotiations, refusing to provide statements to the press. But, shortly after the divorce’s finalization, he obliged to give his side of the story in an interview with Town & Country Magazine. Inside his lavish triplex penthouse apartment La Belle Epoque, Rybolovlev shared the circumstances that led to history’s most expensive and probably most complicated divorce.

Neither courts nor the divorced parties released the terms, but such is a small thing compared to the seven years it took for them to get there. Seven years of private investigations, art and property negotiations, death threats, and an arrest for a $28 million theft.

The oligarch is still one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, but his seven-year divorce with Elena undoubtedly left a mark on his heart more than his wallet.