Natalia Potanina tells us what it's like fighting one of Russia's richest men - a friend of Putin - for the world's largest divorce settlement



Business Insider/Lianna Brinded

Natalia Potanina


When Natalia Potanina's 30-year marriage to one of the richest men in Russia broke down in 2014, her ex-husband, Vladimir, allegedly offered her a $140 million (£105 million) divorce settlement, according to Forbes (Natalia disputes this).

Instead, Natalia launched a legal bid for half of the metal magnate's $15 billion (£11.4 billion) fortune. Half of that sum would be the largest divorce settlement in history, more than six times greater than the record $1.2 billion deal reached when Formula 1 mogul Bernie Ecclestone's marriage ended after 23 years in 2009.

But it is not just about the money.

In an exclusive sit-down interview with Business Insider in London, Natalia described what her life has been like for the last two years, how her family was torn apart, and what it's like trying to sue a member of Russian president Vladimir Putin's inner circle (her ex is one of Putin's ice hockey buddies).


Despite a court in Russia officially declaring the couple divorced in 2014, Natalia is appealing the decision in the Russian Supreme Court and is looking to gain half of her ex-husband's income and assets. She told us she just wants a peaceful settlement for the sake of her youngest son, whom Vladimir allegedly hasn't spoken to since he left the family home in 2013 after serving divorce papers.

The law firm Yust, which represents Vladimir, declined to respond to repeated requests for comment, saying only, "we have received your request, however we refrain from any comments concerning Vladimir Potanin."

Vladimir allegedly remarried a woman called Ekaterina in 2014 and has a child with her, according to Forbes, the Moscow Times, and other websites.

This is how it all happened.