(Photo: REUTERS/ERIC GAILLARD)
A Swiss court has ordered Russian tycoon Dmitry Rybolovlev to pay his estranged ex-wife Elena Rybolovlev $4.5 billion in a settlement her lawyer, Marc Bonnant, has called the "most expensive divorce in history."
While the case is far from settled, a Forbes report on the ruling which was made public Monday agreed that if the ruling withstands appeal, it would indeed be record-breaking and Elena Rybolovlev, who was married for 24 years to her ex-husband would become one of the world's wealthiest people.
How wealthy does $4.5 billion make you? Dmitry Rybolovlev is ranked at #149 on the Forbes global rich list with a fortune of $8.8 billion. A sum of $4.5 billion is equal to the fortune of the world's 338th richest person, Israeli billionaire Arnon Milchan. It would also be well above popular media mogul Oprah Winfrey's $2.9 billion and #610 ranking on the world's rich list.
The tycoon and his ex-wife have been battling in court since 2009 when they split.
Despite the historic ruling, it is unclear, according to Forbes, if Elena will see much of the staggering award.
Sergey Chernitsyn, a spokesman for the tycoon called the ruling a win for his boss. "It's a win for Dmitry," he said.
His lawyer, Tetiana Bersheda, also noted that much of his wealth is locked in trusts created for the one-time couple's two children.
"The transfer of property to heirs through the trust structures, in particular to the couple's children, is therefore immune from legal challenge and is assured," noted Bersheda.
The assets in those trusts includes Donald Trump's Palm Beach mansion, Maison de L'Amitie, which Dmitry bought for $95 million in 2008. Also included is the staggering $88 million New York apartment he bought for his 25-year-old daughter, Ekaterina, in 2011 as well as the Greek islands of Scorpios and Sparti purchased two years later for a reported $150 million. Elena charged that her husband made these moves to make it difficult for her to collect her money.
Dmitry's lawyer also explained that the $4.5 billion award is not final as it is expected to face a new appellate review.