(Reuters) - A Russian tycoon has been sued by his estranged wife over his $88 million purchase of a Manhattan penthouse from former Citigroup Inc Chief Executive Sanford “Sandy” Weill and his wife Joan.
Dmitry Rybolovlev, worth an estimated $9 billion and the world’s 100th richest person according to Forbes magazine, formed a sham entity to buy the apartment for his daughter , solely to shield it from his wife Elena in divorce proceedings, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in a New York state court in Manhattan.
Elena Rybolovleva said she had begun divorce proceedings in Switzerland in 2008, and that a Geneva court later imposed a freeze on some of her husband’s assets.
Despite this, she said her husband has been using marital property to buy a multitude of other assets, including a $295 million stake in Bank of Cyprus BOC.CY and a $95 million Palm Beach, Florida home from Donald Trump, through a variety of trusts and limited liability companies, hoping to put those assets beyond her reach.
She is seeking a constructive trust over the penthouse “to ensure that assets are available to satisfy any monetary judgment that the Swiss court shall award plaintiff Elena Rybolovleva,” according to the complaint.
Marc Salis, a lawyer who represented Rybolovlev on the purchase, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Rybolovlev made much of his fortune from the 2010 sale of his stake in fertilizer company Uralkali for $6.5 billion.
The sale of the 6,744-square-foot penthouse at 15 Central Park West has been described as the highest price ever paid for a Manhattan apartment. (For a floor plan of the apartment, please click here)
The case is Rybolovleva v. Rybolovlev et al, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 102168/2012.
Reporting By Jonathan Stempel and Karen Freifeld; Editing by Bernard Orr