By Eliott C. McLaughlin
(CNN) — It’s being called the most expensive divorce in the history of … well, marriage.
Russia’s Dmitry Rybolovlev, 47, earned the dubious honor when Geneva, Switzerland’s Court of First Instance last week ordered the 47-year-old billionaire to pay his wife, Elena, about 4 billion Swiss francs, according to CNN’s French affiliate BFM.
That’s a little more than $4.5 billion (little being a relative term).
The couple was married for 23 years but have been engaged in divorce proceedings since 2008, BFM reported, citing the Swiss daily newspaper Le Temps.
Rybolovlev, who owns the French soccer team AS Monaco, which finished second in Ligue 1 this season, is No. 148 on Forbes’ list of billionaires. His estimated worth is $8.8 billion, according to Forbes.
Known lately for real estate moves — including the purchases of a $300 million penthouse in Monaco and a $98 million Palm Beach, Florida, mansion owned by Donald Trump, along with his daughter’s purchases of an $88 million New York apartment and the Greek island of Skorpios — Rybolovlev made his original fortune in fertilizer, according to Forbes.
He and his father, a scientist, started their business in 1990, and Rybolovlev began buying shares of industrial enterprises in 1992, Forbes reported.
In 1995, he was named chairman of the board of Uralkali, Russia’s top producer of potassium fertilizers, Forbes said. He sold his stake in Uralkali for $6.5 billion in 2010 and procured a controlling stake in AS Monaco the following year.
The divorce puts Rybolovlev in rarefied company, as only French businessman and art dealer Alec Wildenstein and Bernie Ecclestone, the top dog in Formula One racing, have been reported to shell out more than $1 billion in divorce proceedings.
CNN’s Tara Kangarlou contributed to this report.
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