Wife wants £5 billion settlement in the divorce capital

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June 21, 2016

Senior Partner Marilyn Stowe was featured in The Times this week as she discussed a possible “stratospheric settlement” that would support the UK’s reputation as the divorce capital of the world.

Once Russia’s richest men, Vladimir Potanin, has an estimated worth of £9 billion according to Forbes magazine. The wife in the case, Natalia Potanina, is looking for a financial settlement of around £5 billion from the divorce.

If the £5 billion settlement is made, it will be the highest in British divorce history, significantly overtaking the current leading settlements.

The highest settlement awarded in the British courts is of £337 million, which went to Sir Chris Hohn’s wife during their 2014 divorce. Another notable case with a significant financial settlement was that of Boris Berezovsky, another Russian oligarch, whose wife was awarded a figure somewhere between £165 million and £220 million.

Mr Potanin’s marriage lasted more than 30 years. However, having met when the pair were “penniless”, Mrs Potanina believes that she is entitled to half of the wealth he has acquired in that time. He is now the fourth richest man in Russia.

The marriage broke down towards the end of 2013 after Mr Potanin confessed to his wife that he had been involved in an affair with one of his employees. Proceedings began in 2014 in Moscow, and although Mr Potanin disclosed some assets, Mrs Potanina argued that her husband was hiding some more behind “complex corporate structures”.

The wife, now residing in London, explained that if she returns to Russia, she would have to pay an “outstanding artificial debt” of $1 billion.

Is the divorce capital of the world all it seems?

Mrs Stowe warned that if the case was to go ahead in London, Natalia could be left to enforce the order made, which could cost her dear.

She explained:

“That may prove impossible … Courts do not have unlimited powers to extract billions from a Russian oligarch and his myriad of Russian companies if they don’t play ball”

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