WORLD Divorce could net wife billions
A SPLIT between a Russian billionaire and darling of the art world was never going to involve small change.
But Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich and his wife, gallerist and fashion editor Dasha Zhukova, are set to raise eyebrows with a settlement that could involve billions after announcing their split.
Mr Abramovich and Ms Zhukova said they had separated after a decade together.
“After 10 years together, the two of us have made the difficult decision to separate, but we remain close friends, parents, and partners in the projects we developed together,” they said. “We are committed to jointly raising our two children.”
Mr Abramovich is estimated to be worth $ 11.7 billion and is famous for his high- profile assets including Chelsea and a string of luxury properties, cars and yachts.
He has reportedly spent more than $ 1.5 billion on “toys and homes” including ones in the Caribbean, Colorado and the south of France.
Ms Zhukova, 36, is the daughter of Russian oligarch Alexander Zhukov and has been lauded by the New York fashion and arts scene for her daring projects.
Mr Abramovich and Ms Zhukova were married in secret nine years ago and have two children together.
No details of the settlement have been released.
The split could be a costly enterprise for Mr Abramovich as Ms Zhukova is his third wife. He previously divorced Irina Malandina in 2007 after a 16year marriage. They have five children together.
That settlement was reported to include $ 1.65 billion in cash and four homes in what was described at the time as the “world’s costliest divorce”.
Mr Abramovich’s first marriage was from 1987 to 1991 with Olga Lysova.
Mr Abramovich’s biographer, Chris Hutchins, said at the time he divorced Ms Malandina, the billionaire was told by close friend and Russian President Vladimir Putin to “get his act cleaned up”.
“He sees Abramovich as something of an ambassador for Russia and made it clear Abramovich should settle his personal affairs,” Mr Hutchins said.
“Abramovich tends to do what Putin tells him, in business and in his personal life, and Putin’s intervention would certainly have influenced his decision to grant his wife an uncontested divorce.”