In what can be termed as one of the biggest payments ever to be ordered by a judge in an open court hearing, a British court on Thursday ordered a Russian billionaire to pay his wife $584 million in a divorce settlement.
The judge, Justice Haddon-Cave, said the couple met and married in Moscow before moving in a home in Surrey in southern England, Xinhua news agency reported. According to a Sky News report, the award -- which amounts to 41.5 per cent of the couple's "marital assets" -- could be the biggest ever ordered in Britain.
The judge said the couple met in 1989 while the woman, from eastern Europe, was studying in Moscow. They married four years later and went on to have two children. The couple moved to London in 1993 and had lived together in Surrey, he said.
Nearly five years ago the man had sold shares in a Russian company for $1.3 billion. A year later he bought his children flats in a luxury London development costing $37.3 million and $9 million. The judge also made a ruling preventing the 61-year-old man from the Caucasus, and the woman who is in her 40s and was born in eastern Europe, from being identified.
The woman became a British citizen more than 15 years ago. The man argued that he had made a special contribution in the generation of wealth, but the judge said the man and woman had made equal contributions to the welfare of the family.