Tycoon, wife in high-stakes dispute over assets, realty holdings

We have noted for readers and highlighted in past blog posts that a high-asset divorce matter can — and usually does — involve a great deal of complexity. Many things can be front and center and require closest scrutiny where complex property division is involved, including accurate asset valuation, proper identification of what constitutes marital property, and ensuring that assets and income are not being concealed.

That latter point is neatly illustrated by a high-profile case presently playing out in a New York court, where one of the richest men in the world and his wife are at odds over an equitable property division matter.

Dmitry Rybolovlev and his wife, Elena Rybolovleva, filed for divorce in Switzerland in 2008. The divorce is not yet finalized, but a Swiss court order issued in 2010 has frozen many of the couple’s assets and barred Rybolovlev from purchasing any property with assets acquired during the couple’s marriage.

Elena says that is precisely what her husband is doing, and that the amounts involved are staggeringly high and that Rybolovlev is purchasing property with assets that are partially hers.

Forbes Magazine estimates that Rybolovlev — a Russian tycoon — has a net worth of about $9 billion. Elena Rybolovlev says he is attempting to deny her a rightful share of that wealth by buying assets with sham business entities that hide and divert his personal interest in the properties.

An example, she says, is the Manhattan penthouse he bought just last month for nearly $90 million that is in the name of the couple’s daughter. Another example is a Florida estate he bought from fellow tycoon Donald Trump in 2008 for $95 million.

Rybovleva says that these purchases, and others, violate the Swiss order. A representative for her says that her court filing seeks to ensure that her husband doesn’t continue to move the couple’s wealth “to companies and places where it’s impossible to reach.”

Most divorces obviously don’t involve the degree of wealth just described, but many dissolutions involve myriad issues concerning similar matters. A proven Georgia law firm with deep experience handling high-asset divorces can answer questions and provide strong representation in a complex property division matter.

Source: Forbes, “Estranged wife sues billionaire over record Manhattan apartment purchase,” Luisa Kroll, March 14, 2012

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