Spare a nickel? Russian tycoon's ex-wife demands $15bn in final divorce settlement

Spare a nickel? Russian tycoon's ex-wife demands $15bn in final divorce settlement
The former wife of Russian billionaire and the CEO of Norilsk Nickel Vladimir Potanin has filed a new lawsuit against her ex-husband, demanding 849.5 billion rubles ($15 billion), Forbes reports.

Natalia Potanina wants the court to rule that shares in foreign companies Pharanco, Bektanco, Decoso, and Lovenco, as well as Russian enterprises Norilsk Nickel and Polus Gold, are the ex-spouses’ marital property.

Potanina was married to the billionaire from 1983 to 2014 and is also demanding her ex-husband pay her additional compensation, made up of the dividends of Norilsk Nickel and Polus Gold, firms owned by Potanin during the marriage.

After their marriage had ended, Potanina received 380 million rubles ($6.7 million) and three plots of land in the Moscow region.

However, the court refused to split the Norilsk Nickel shares, citing the fact that the businessman was a beneficial owner and didn’t own the assets directly.

Cyprus law rules beneficial ownership, but Russian courts can split such property, said an unnamed source as quoted by Forbes, stressing that Potanina had the legal right to get half of the dividends.

“As the beneficial property was the spouses’ marital property, all the dividends must be divided into two equal proportions,” said the claimant's counsel.

Earlier this year, Potanina filed a suit against her ex-husband, demanding monetary compensation of 215 billion rubles ($3.8 billion) for the shares of KM Invest. She claimed Potanin illegally disposed of their marital property and gave them to another person.

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In 2016, Vladimir Potanin was ranked the fourth richest businessmen of Russia with an estimated fortune of 684,5 billion rubles ($12.1 billion).

Four years ago, the mogul pledged to give away at least half his wealth to charity. The Giving Pledge initiative was started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010.