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Oligarch's Wife In Quickie Divorce

Boris Berezovsky in Divorce


The wife of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky won a "quickie" divorce today in what lawyers speculated could be the biggest settlement in British legal history.

Second wife Galina was said to have spent only two years of the 18-year marriage with Mr Berezovsky, whose fortune - once estimated at more than £1 billion - was built up after they had separated.

It has been reported that the exiled businessman, who did not contest the case at the High Court, was expected to pay his second wife anything up to £100 million, more than double the previous record of £48 million.

Frank Arndt, a lawyer at Stowe Family Law, which specialises in big money divorces, said: "The Berezovskys were married for 18 years, have two teenage children and, although estimates of the couple's fortune vary, it is indeed likely that any settlement eventually awarded to Mrs Berezovsky will dwarf the £48 million awarded to Beverley Charman in 2008.

"However, the biggest challenge facing Mrs Berezovsky might not be the size of the eventual settlement, but how the payment of that settlement can be enforced. This is a question that has been exercising family judges of late, and much can depend upon the locations in which the couple's assets are held."

Mrs Berezovsky lives in London with the couple's two teenage children, while he lives in Surrey with his girlfriend of 15 years, Yelena Gorbunova, and their two children.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Nicola Walker at Law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "It is not clear whether the divorce was uncontested, which is most likely, or the finances, which is highly unlikely. However given the amount of wealth owned by the husband any settlement for the wife is likely to be substantial taking into account the length of marriage, cohabitation, ages of children and when and how the husband's assets were accrued.

"Although the starting point is one of equality all the above factors will be taken into account in negotiations or in a determination of the court. It is interesting that the parties have waited this long to divorce but the most important factor for the court will be the couples two children and  the fact that wife will have cared for them whilst husband has built up his wealth."