11 years ago2.7K views
The richest man in Russia is set to battle with his ex-wife over an estimated fortune of $18.7 billion.
Roman Abramovich is the 16th richest man in the world, an orphan and a college dropout, who became the most successful tycoon of the new Russia.
"Roman Abramovich is the Russian version of Bill Gates," said Alison Fass of Forbes magazine. "He has $18.7 billion."
The 40-year-old oil tycoon is also a playboy, so much so that close friend Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly warned him to clean up his act.
Wednesday night, just hours after Abramovich was seen in Paris with model and heiress Daria Zhukova, news spread that he would split with his wife, Irina Abramovich, a former flight attendant and the mother of his five children.
She has been with him since 1991, before he achieved his enormous wealth, which means she could stake a claim to half his fortune.
"She's been married to him a long time, and a fair share of that could well be in the billions," said divorce lawyer Alan Kaufman.
"This could be the biggest divorce payout ever," Fass said.
Divorce lawyers say Irina Abramovich would have a credible claim to houses worth more than $100 million, yachts worth $350 million, a private jumbo jet valued at $100 million and the English soccer team valued at $275 million.
But Abramovich may have found a way around that. Although the couple has lived in London since 2000, the divorce has been finalized in the Siberian province where Abramovich is the governor and is subject to a strict confidentiality clause.
But even a fraction of Abramovich's billions would still make this the biggest divorce settlement in history.