Russian billionaire divorcing billionaire sells $1.3B art collection as part of settlement

A Russian billionaire couple whose $1.3 billion divorce is being played out in a Moscow court have agreed to sell a number of art works as part of a settlement, Arnaud Maillard reported.

Dmitry Rybolovlev and his second wife, Elena, settled the court battle in 2018 following Russian president Vladimir Putin’s intervention in the proceedings.

Maillard wrote in Dezeen magazine that the settlement between the estranged couple has been finalized, and that the art collectors will now be fighting to sell off the art works.

Estimates for the sales range from $600 million to $676 million, the magazine wrote.

“The battle over the value of the artworks between Dmitry Rybolovlev and his estranged wife Elena and his wife Anna Rybolovleva is now over,” the outlet wrote. “The Russian businessman has confirmed to Dezeen that the artworks could be transferred to a trust.”

Rybolovlev had sought to have the artworks valuated at a fraction of the figure offered by the sellers in the divorce settlement.

“On [Sept. 19], lawyers for Rybolovleva and Maison warned their clients that the settlement terms will not be renegotiated,” the outlet wrote. “’The agreement was reached in the Court of Appeal,’ the lawyers wrote, demanding that the sale be subject to the Court of Appeal’s authorisation.”

Rybolovlev reported at the end of last year that he sold an art collection worth $44.5 million to Russian retailer Sberbank, and a further $43.3 million worth of paintings to Goldman Sachs in August, for a total of $89.5 million.

The deal followed an agreement in December 2017 with the owners of the Clos Nucleos hotel complex in Moscow, whose portion of the bustle had been made up of Rybolovlev’s art.

Rybolovlev built the hotel complex, with its gardens, on the banks of the Spilled Blood River in the mid-2000s.

According to AFP, the purchase was “one of his major art deals”, adding that the real estate mogul is thought to have bought an “unspecified number” of works by Jeff Koons, Lucian Freud, Damien Hirst and Wolfgang Tillmans in 2016.

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