Russia’s “Fertilizer King” Loses the Biggest Divorce Settlement in History

A blog about business and economics.
May 20 2014 3:39 PM

Russia’s “Fertilizer King” Loses the Biggest Divorce Settlement in History

Dmitry Rybolovlev.
Dmitry Rybolovlev could go down in history for making the biggest ever divorce payout.

Photo by Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Russian billionaire and "fertilizer king" Dmitry Rybolovlev has been ordered to pay more than $4.5 billion to his ex-wife in what the Associated Press reports could wind up being the biggest divorce settlement in history. Rybolovlev began his career as a physician but made his estimated $8.8 billion fortune from selling his stake in potash fertilizer company Uralkali. Today he owns the French soccer club AS Monaco.

The divorce will also cost Rybolovlev a share of his hefty property empire. His ex-wife, Elena, will receive $146 million worth of property in Gstaad, Switzerland, and two other pieces of real estate in a posh part of Geneva known as Cologny. The family's portfolio also includes the 18-bedroom Maison de L'Amitie in Palm Beach, Florida (purchased in "unlivable" condition from Donald Trump for $95 million) and a Hawaiian mansion that previously belonged to Will Smith. In 2012, Rybolovlev's older daughter Ekaterina made headlines with the biggest New York City apartment purchase on record—a four-bedroom penthouse on Central Park West for $88 million.

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ABC reports that the settlement will also grant several valuable antiques to Elena Rybolovleva. These include "a very rare wooden desk with drawers in wood plated with pearl and silver leaf repelled with gold and green highlights" and "an Empire pedestal adorned with a Sèvres porcelain plate depicting 'The History of Love.'" While lawyers in the case are calling the verdict a "complete victory" for Rybolovleva, they expect an appeal within 30 days.

Alison Griswold is a Slate staff writer covering business and economics.

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