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Divorcee Wants To Give Half Her Ex-Husband’s Business Empire To Putin

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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Natalia Potanina divorced Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin last year, and she is demanding a $7 billion divorce settlement that includes valuable shares of her husband’s business empire, which she plans to donate to the state.

Potanin owns 30 percent of the world’s largest nickel producer, Norilsk Nickel, and is its chief executive. He’s Russia’s richest man and is worth an estimated $15.4 billion, according to Russia’s Forbes. He initially offered his ex-wife of 30 years a settlement of about $3 million a year, in addition to properties in Moscow, London and New York.

But under Russian law wealth acquired while married should be divided equally in divorce, and she’s demanding $7 billion, which includes half of his business holdings.

Potanin controls a transport and infrastructure company, a pharmaceutical firm and a ski resort operator, in addition to his shares in Norilsk Nickel, reported CNN.

“I want to give my shares to the state,” she told CNN. “I want to avoid corporate conflicts. I want such a big strategic object to be under the state control.”

Norilsk has a market value of more than $30 billion, which would translate to about $4.5 billion in shares for Potanina and then Russia if she wins half her ex-husbands holdings. Her ex-husband’s control of the company would suffer substantially.

“I feel offended after living together for 30 years,” she said. “I loved him so much, it was a big personal drama to me.”

She and Potanin have three children together. He has since remarried.

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