Vladimir Potanin Russian billionaire, asks Supreme Court to stop ex-wife’s divorce case

Supreme Court Receives Request from Vladimir Potanin to Block Ex-Wife's Divorce Lawsuit

Vladimir Potanin, whose net worth is estimated to be $20 billion, is attempting to overturn a Court of Appeal decision allowing Natalia Potanina to sue him in London for millions of pounds. During a Tuesday city court, the billionaire’s attorneys began trying to get Mrs. Potanina’s case halted. They contend that given the reputation of English courts for being benevolent in these situations, if Mr. Vladimir Potanin, a Russian billionaire, asks the Supreme Court to stop his ex-wife’s divorce case, Vladimir Potanin might find himself entangled in drawn-out legal battles.

Mrs. Natalia Potanina Potanina’s legal representatives assert that the Court of Appeal adopted the appropriate method and that she has rightfully secured her portion of the family’s assets following many years of marriage.

The appellate justices were previously apprised of Mrs. Natalia Potanina’s pursuit of around £5 billion from her ex-husband after their divorce.

Russian billionaire, asks Supreme Court to stop ex-wife’s divorce case
Russian billionaire, asks Supreme Court to stop ex-wife’s divorce case

It was claimed during the Supreme Court proceedings that she is asking for half of the value of his Norilsk Nickel mining shares, half of the dividends that have been paid on those shares since 2014, and half of the value of The Autumn House, a Russian property.

In 2019, Mrs. Natalia Potanina’s attorneys claimed that her ownership stake in the company might be worth up to $9 billion (£7.4 billion), a claim that was refuted by the attorneys of her ex-husband.

In November 2019, Mr. Vladimir Potanin, a Russian billionaire, asked the Supreme Court to stop his ex-wife’s divorce case Potanin successfully stopped his ex-wife from suing him in England because a High Court judge believed her allegation to be a type of “divorce tourism.” Nonetheless, the Court of Appeal permitted Mrs. Potanina to pursue her appeal in a ruling from May 2021. The owner of the Interros group and previously the second-wealthiest person in Russia, Mr. Potanin, was subject to UK sanctions in June of the previous year because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Allegations were made against the businessman for “accumulating wealth” while endorsing the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He achieved this by purchasing shares in Tinkoff Bank and Rosbank at the beginning of the dispute.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Natalia Potanina, who are in their early sixties, were married in Russia in 1983 and have lived there ever since. Three of their children are adults.

Before a group of five Supreme Court justices, the billionaire’s legal team contended that the former couple wasn’t “wealthy” when they first got married. They argued, however, that the spouse was able to accumulate substantial money because of the financial opportunities that the disintegration of the Soviet Union brought.

According to Mr. Potanin, their divorce was finally formalized in 2014 by a Russian court, but they officially split up in 2007. Mrs. Natalia Potanina, however, maintains that their marriage abruptly ended in 2013, not before they separated.

Supreme Court to stop ex-wife’s divorce case
Supreme Court to stop ex-wife’s divorce case

The couple’s legal dispute has resulted in an extraordinarily lengthy international litigation process, with 43 hearings held in Russia in addition to Mrs. Natalia Potanina’s attempts to file lawsuits in the US and Cyprus, according to Lord Faulks KC, who is representing Mr. Potanin, during Tuesday’s proceedings.

Mrs. Potanina was awarded 84 million US dollars as a consequence of legal proceedings in Russia, according to Mr. Faulks. Her attorneys refuted this figure, claiming that the actual award was 41.5 million US dollars.

Mr. Potanin, who has remarried and is currently residing in Russia, was not allowed to have legal representation until he received approval from the Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (Ofsi), according to Lord Faulks during the hearing.

In his written submissions, Lord Faulks contended that in major financial matters such as this one, the legal system encourages the habit of looking for the most advantageous jurisdiction.
But he also brought up the fact that Mrs. Potanina has very little connection to Wales or England and that adding a foreign award is illegal.

He stated that, although he thought the appeal judges’ decision was appropriate and warranted, he thought it went too far. He said that Mrs. Potanina had to provide proof that the Russian lawsuit had had a detrimental effect on her.

No ordinary man in the street would say that an award of over 80 million dollars could give rise to adverse consequences,” Lord Faulks said.

Mrs. Potanina’s attorney, Charles Howard KC, argued in written submissions that her former spouse’s petition was without merit. He said she deserved to be considered a legitimate wife since she had done so much to support him and his enterprises, including taking on major responsibilities as the family’s principal caretaker and managing the building and remodeling of homes, offices, and yachts.

Furthermore, the attorney noted that Mrs. Potanina has made every attempt to pursue justice and that there is no proof that she is divorcing for selfish motives.

Mr. Howard claims that Mrs. Potanina has “quite substantial” ties to England because she has lived there since 2016 and has purposefully kept her distance from Russia. He mentioned how Mr. Potanin has become one of the richest people in the world due to his vast wealth. Nevertheless, his ex-wife has been left with relatively little in comparison and has not been given a fair share of the family’s riches.

Mr. Howard claimed that Mrs. Potanina ought to get a reasonable share of the assets amassed during their union when they lived an opulent lifestyle befitting billionaires. He added that it is expected that this lawsuit will have some of the highest financial stakes.

The attorney made note of the startling costs and numerous setbacks in this legal process, as well as the lack of significant advancements. Mr. Potanin had spent more than £8.4 million as of January 2022, and his ex-wife had spent £1.4 million.

Wednesday is the last day of the hearing before Lords Stephens, Briggs, Lloyd-Jones, Leggatt, and Lady Rose. A ruling is anticipated later this week.


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