The Rybolovlev couple have turned the attention of the world’s rich and famous to Cyprus with former fertiliser oligarch Dmitry attempting to put claim to a diamond ring adorning the finger of his ex-wife for the past six years.
Rybolovlev, controlling a 10% stake in Bank of Cyprus before the haircuts on deposits imposed by the Eurogroup a year ago, has been parking his fortunes, estimated in their billions, in trust companies and real estate to benefit their two daughters, in an attempt to fend off Elena’s claim to $3.5 bln of his estate.
In the latest episode of their legal wranglings, Dmitry secured a court order to impound a ring, believed to be worth $25 mln, and tried to stop his ex-wife from entering Cyprus unless she surrendered the ring.
Elena’s lawyers, Pelaghias, Christodoulou, Vrachas LLC and Marios Orphanides, countered Rybolovlev’s criminal complaint filed by the trustees of the Cyprus-registered “Domus Trust”, apparently created in 2010. They said “Elena was questioned by the police authorities of Cyprus upon her arrival in the country (on Monday).”
“At stake was the alleged ‘theft’ of a precious diamond ring offered to her by her husband in March 2008 while they were still living together.
“Mrs. Rybolovleva provided the Cypriot police with all the relevant documents proving her sole and legitimate ownership on the piece of jewellery.
“It is yet still unknown how a piece of jewellery offered by her husband six years ago, created to fit exactly the finger of Mrs. Elena Rybolovleva and possessed by her without interruption since then could have been “stolen” in any way, in addition from a trust that she knew nothing about and that has been apparently created two years after the purchase,” the lawyers said, telling the Financial Mirror that Elena was free and in Cyprus and never apprehended or arrested, as her ex-husband’s trust had claimed.
“In an announcement made just after the event, the trustees of the Domus Trust claimed that it was their “legal duty and obligation” to “preserve and protect the trust property” in “the most efficient way possible”, but, revealingly, did not provide any explanation as to their alleged ownership right on the diamond ring,” the lawyers added.
“In fact, Cyprus Police Headquarters announced (on Tuesday) that Mrs. Elena Rybolovleva was questioned without anything arising against her and so she will not be brought before the Court.”
“This event appears to be the latest amongst many attempts of Mr. Dmitriy Rybolovlev to exert an illegitimate pressure and constraint on the mother of his two daughters – one of them still a minor – in order to force her to renounce her legal rights in the divorce proceedings pending before the Swiss jurisdictions since the end of December 2008.”
Bolton Trustees, acting on behalf of the Cyprus-registered Domus Trust, issued an announcement soon after she she arrived on a flight from Switzerland on Monday morning, saying that they have “a legal duty to take whatever action necessary to protect the assets of the trusts.”
The Rybolovlevs have been embroiled in legal battles around the world as Dmitry went on a spending spree buying up premium properties in New York, Monaco, Hawaii and, more recently, the former Onassis-owned Skorpios island in the Aegean, for about $100 mln.
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