Vladimir Potanin, the second in the list of the richest people in Russia, faces one of the most serious divorce proceedings in the world after Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.
His ex-wife Natalya Potanina demands 50% of his share in PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel, indicating the maximum amount at a hearing in a London court on Tuesday. This amount could exceed $ 7 billion, given that Potanin owns about a third of the shares of the metal producer.
Judge Nicholas Francis said Potanin is still awaiting a response on whether the UK Supreme Court will consider an appeal.
London divorce courts have been a popular destination for costly litigation, and judges have usually decided on an equal share of the couple's assets. In the UK, the largest publicly known divorce payment is currently £ 450m ($ 631m) to the wife of billionaire Farhad Akhmedov, although they paid less than one third of that amount.
Potanina said that in addition to Norilsk Nickel shares, she also claims 50% of all dividends on shares since 2014. Her ex-husband has since received about 487.3 billion rubles ($ 6.6 billion) in dividends, and his net worth is $ 29.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Natalya Potanina is also counting on half the value of the expensive Russian property known as the Autumn House.
According to Potanina, she received about $ 40 million after the divorce proceedings in Russia, while Potanin said that in the end she received $ 84 million - an amount that by English standards is "a negligible reward" given his wealth and the length of their 31-year marriage, the judge noted in a previous ruling.
Another Russian billionaire, Dmitry Rybolovlev, was the victim of a high-profile divorce that spread across six jurisdictions and led to years of discontent. In 2014, a Swiss judge awarded his ex-wife Elena Rybolovleva $ 4.5 billion, although a subsequent ruling reduced that amount to just over $ 600 million.