Russian tycoon in biggest British divorce deal

Last Updated: Saturday, July 23, 2011 - 13:57

London: Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky and his former wife have struck the biggest-ever divorce settlement in British legal history, her lawyer said on Friday.

Berezovsky and Galina Besharova divorced in July 2010 after he admitted unreasonable behaviour, Deborah Levy said.

She would not confirm the amount of money involved but reports suggested the deal could be worth more than GBP 100 million.

"The parties have amicably resolved matters and are very keen to preserve their privacy," Levy said.

Britain`s previous settlement record was set when an insurance broker paid his former wife GBP 48 million in 2006.

Besharova, 52, is Berezovsky`s second wife. They married in 1991, having met 10 years earlier. They have two children but are said to have spent just two years of their marriage living together.

Berezovsky, 65, lives in self-imposed exile.

He made his fortune in the sell-off of state-run assets in the 1990s after the break-up of the Soviet Union but fell out with the Russian administration of Vladimir Putin and was granted political asylum in Britain in 2003.

Julian Hawkhead, a lawyer at Stowe Family Law, which specialises in big money divorces, said the giant settlement "will serve to fuel London`s reputation as the divorce capital of the world.

"To a billionaire, a settlement worth hundreds of millions of pounds may be mere numbers on a piece of paper," he added.

Besharova said in a statement that English judges "have a sense of fairness in their DNA”.

"This is particularly so with the provision for wives -- England leads the way in properly looking after wives -- wives who have often given up a great deal in the marital partnership so that their husbands might succeed.”

"It is right that this partnership contribution is recognised," she said. "With the expert assistance of our legal teams, Boris and I were able to achieve such fairness in an English High Court."

She said the story of their relationship was of "the colossal fortune that was made, of how love was lost but memories and two wonderful children remained".

Bureau Report



First Published: Saturday, July 23, 2011 - 13:57

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