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Billionaire hit for $5.2 billion when he could have settled for $1 billion

Friday, May 23, 2014
Dmitry Rybolovlev  and Elena Rybolovleva
Acrimonious split . . . billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev and Elena Rybolovleva.
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A billionaire who just gave his ex-wife a record $5.2 billion in a divorce judgment had passed up an earlier opportunity to settle for $1 billion.

Russian "fertilizer king" Dmitry Rybolovlev and former spouse Elena Rybolovleva , both 47, had last May agreed on a $1 billion settlement to their high-profile divorce.

RELATED: World's most expensive divorces

But Dmitry backed out of the deal after his financial advisors claimed he didn’t have the money, documents obtained by the New York Daily News show. In a letter dated May 21, 2013, one of the lawyers for Rybolovlev's trusts declined the settlement, stating that he had “decided against exercising their powers to distribute" the money.

The letter contradicts the claims of Rybolovlev’s spokesman – who said it was his former wife who had pulled out of the deal.

But despite the decision backfiring on the tycoon, with a judgement ordering him to pay $5.2 billion of his estimated $9.5 billion to his wife of 26 years, he may still get an opportunity to try again.

Well-known divorce lawyer Marilyn Chinitz warned Rybolovleva her billionaire former husband "could keep this litigation going on for many years. If she doesn't try (again) to settle, she may never collect the money".

Rybolovlev's lawyer, Tetiana Bersheda, said they're appealing the ruling, which could take "at least ten more years."

01/10/2014 18:11Sydney, Australia. 1 October,2014
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