The ex-wife of a Russian oligarch has filed a lawsuit demanding $15billion from her former husband, it is reported.
Natalia Potanina, 55, is seeking half of 56-year-old Vladimir Potanin’s wealth, including dividends from a lucrative Russian firm, Forbes Russia reports.If Ms Potanina’s claim is successful, the settlement will be more than three times larger than the current record, estimated to be $4billion paid by Alec Wildenstein in his 199
9 divorce from wife Jocelyn.
Among the assets Ms Potanina is claiming are profits from Norilsk Nickel, which Mr Potanin owns 30 per cent of, and Interros International, his investment company.
Courts have twice rejected Ms Potanina’s attempts to lay her hands on the shares, saying that while Mr Potanin does benefit from them, he does not own them directly.
But in new papers filed at the Presnensky District Court of Moscow she claims she should be entitled to half of the dividends from the shares, even if she cannot have the shares themselves, Russian legal agency RAPSI reports.
Ms Potanina already has another lawsuit filed claiming another $3.8billion in compensation for shares in the KM Invest company.
She claims he ‘dumped, betrayed and humiliated’ her after starting a relationship with an employee 15 years his junior, with whom he has a love child.
Ms Potanina has already been awarded $4.8million from the sale of a luxury apartment in central Moscow, along with three plots of land in the region.
But she claims her former husband has secreted the rest of his wealth in a series of offshore companies to stop her from accessing it.
Mr Potanin has previously told Moscow courts that he is no longer a billionaire, is down to his last millions and living on a salary of $480,000 a month.
Forbes estimates that Mr Potanin is worth $13.4billion, which would make him Russia’s fourth richest man.
Last year Ms Potanina claimed her ex had created a ‘fictional’ debt of $1million attached to one of the plots of land she was given, which is preventing her from returning to Russia.
Controversial laws prevent anyone who has an unsettled debt in Russia from leaving until it has been paid. Ms Potanina says if she returns to her home country to see her children or visit her ailing mother, she will be prevented from leaving again.