You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

Palm Beach divorce focuses on sex, lies … and a mansion


EDITOR’S NOTE: This stroy was published in the Palm Beach Post on June 29, 2009.

From Russia, with love?

Not on the shores of Palm Beach.

A divorce battle between Russian billionaire fertilizer mogul Dmitri Rybolovlev and his wife has washed up on the island.

The wife, Elena Rybolovlev, is flinging allegations of infidelity. She’s also fighting to seize 50 percent of the couple’s marital assets, which she estimates to be worth between $6 billion and $12 billion.

Among the assets: the $95 million Palm Beach mansion Dmitri Rybolovlev purchased from real estate mogul Donald Trump in 2008.

The deal was considered the nation’s most expensive sale of a U.S. single-family home. And soon it could turn into the most expensive U.S. house to be fought over in divorce court.

In December, Elena filed for divorce from Dmitri. The same month, she filed a lis pendens on the 33,000-square-foot Palm Beach property, the estate of former health care magnate Abe Gosman. A lis pendens is a pending suit in which a court acquires jurisdiction over property.

In legal documents, Elena claims she made the move because her husband “has a history of secreting and transferring assets in order to avoid his obligations.”

The lis pendens was temporarily removed pending the outcome of a Swiss court, which is set to rule on the issue of how to divide the couple’s assets, said Al LaSorte, a West Palm Beach attorney for Elena. But the lis pendens could go back on the house, depending on how the court rules.

Robert Brody, an attorney for Dmitri’s County Road Property LLC, which bought the Trump house, declined to comment.

Rybolovlev is one of the new breed of young oligarchs that has dominated Russia’s economy in recent years. The former medical student is the chairman of Uralkali, a fertilizer company. Forbes has ranked him No. 59 on a list of the world’s billionaires, with an estimated net worth of $12.8 billion.

In July 2008, through County Road Property, Rybolovlev paid $95 million cash for the Trump property. Trump had bought the home on 515 N. County Road for $41.35 million in 2004. Rybolovlev closed the deal at $5 million below Trump’s $100 million asking price.

At the time, Rybolovlev said he purchased the mansion as an investment. And it seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, how can you go wrong with oceanfront property on Palm Beach?

But what a difference a year makes. Numerous Russian oligarchs have seen their fortunes diminished in the financial turmoil engulfing the world economy, and Rybolovlev is no exception. Now his personal life has taken a turn for the worse, too. In December, Elena filed for divorce in Switzerland. The couple moved there in 1995 for security reasons, according to the lawsuit.

In the divorce filing, Elena says she is fed up with Dmitri’s fondness for other ladies. A yacht cruise with several young women, and later a mistress, were among the deal breakers in the marriage, according to the complaint. Elena claims that some of the “young conquests were shared with his friends, and other oligarchs.”

She wants half of the assets, if she can find them. An art and furniture collection, worth about $670 million, has been moved out of her reach to London and Singapore, she complains in legal documents. And her attempts to claim half of the Palm Beach house in a Palm Beach County Circuit Court lawsuit are being made because Dmitri hasn’t produced documents showing his ownership in various properties, according to legal documents.

Alexandra Clough writes about the economy, real estate and the law. For more of her coverage, read The Source on Sundays at PalmBeachPost.com/business. Contact her at alexandra_clough@pbpost.com.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Scientists in Texas closer to diabetes cure with unconventional treatment
Scientists in Texas closer to diabetes cure with unconventional treatment

Years of testing remain, but UT Health San Antonio researchers say they’ve cured Type 1 diabetes in mice. In peer-reviewed paper, they say a “gene transfer” can “wake up” cells in the pancreas to produce insulin. Health researchers at the University of Texas think they have found a way to trick the body into curing Type...
Florida Fish and Wildlife searches for monkey on the loose 
Florida Fish and Wildlife searches for monkey on the loose 

Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are searching for a monkey that was spotted several times in Apopka.  FWC officials said it appears to be a rhesus macaque that likely came from the Silver Springs, Florida, area.  Officials are warning residents not to approach the monkey because it could charge toward people...
Customers slam Shea Moisture’s new ad campaign; some compare to Pepsi ad
Customers slam Shea Moisture’s new ad campaign; some compare to Pepsi ad

A new promotional ad by hair product line Shea Moisture is being criticized for abandoning the company’s primary market -- black women with natural hair -- and will be removed from the campaign “immediately,” the company announced Monday evening. Shea Moisture first shared the ad on its Facebook page Thursday and as...
Alex Jones sued by Greek yogurt giant Chobani
Alex Jones sued by Greek yogurt giant Chobani

An ongoing child custody battle is not the only legal entanglement involving Austin broadcaster Alex Jones this week. On Monday, Greek yogurt manufacturer Chobani filed a lawsuit against the host of “Infowars.” Chobani’s lawyers also pointed to other examples of what they called “spurious statements” by Jones in the...
Fearless cat stands ground against giant rattler within striking distance 
Fearless cat stands ground against giant rattler within striking distance 

  It’s the beginning of snake season in Texas and authorities are warning people to watch out for the reptiles as they emerge from hibernation. The Laguna Vista Police Department posted the warning on its Facebook page after a close call between a giant rattler and a group of hikers on a local trail.  Police posted photos of the massive...
More Stories