LONDON: On Galina Berezovsky’s divorce from billionaire Boris Berezovsky

“Boris Berezovsky, the Russian oligarch, is set to face a divorce battle that could cost him up to £100 million” –TELEGRAPH.CO.UK
Boris Berezovsky’s divorce from his absentia wife Galina Berezovsky is just getting started and promises to be the stuff that “Russian KGB thrillers” are made of. The 50 year old Galena, who has two children with the Russian oligarch, certainly will have her work cut out for her in attempting to get her soft, white hands on Mr. Berezovsky’s dough. It’s anybody’s bet if she’ll get a single dime.
In a profile in October, 2009 Vanity Fair, a tale of intrigue, espionage, assasination attempts, sudden demises, political ambitions gone bad, incarceration in penal colonies of an American citizen and lawyer (necessitating communications between the State Department and the Belarusian government for his release), broken friendships, billions of missing assets, bigamy, lost wills, falsified will, FORGERY and countless lawsuits pertaining to these wills spanning numerous countries including Russia, Georgia, Belarus, England, United States, and more to come, is emerging. From what we know so far, even if Galina does get a piece of the pie, the 50 year old will likely have to wait at least a few decades while the case is sorted out across continents.
Fine time for Galina Berezovsky to enter the fray. Sure she is trying to stake her claim, but apparently, her timing could not have been worse. She is seeking upwards of £100 million pounds in settlement from her husband of 18 years, Mr. Berezovsky. The funny part about it is, though they have been married about 18 years, for about 16 of those, he and she have lived separate and apart from each other. In fact, he lives with a 41 year old woman by the name of Yelena Gorbunova with whom he has two children and whom he claims he intends to marry just as soon as this divorce with Galina is completed:

Mr Berezovsky is said to be relaxed about the official break-up of his second marriage. He has been cohabiting with Yelena Gorbunova, 41, by whom he has two children, for many years. Mr Berezovsky’s spokesman, Lord Bell, said: “It is true that Galina has asked for a divorce. But he hasn’t lived with Galina for 16 or 18 years. If he is divorced, then he intends to marry Yelena.” INDEPENDENT, UK.

So the question becomes, “how does Galina justify the £ 100 million pounds she is asking for?” Usually when a wife makes a claim for equitable distribution, especially in a “big money” case like the Berezovskys, she can and must demonstrate that she was in a long term marriage and that she made certain “contributions” to the marriage –even if it was as a home-maker and stay at home mom –that enabled her husband to rise to the financial apex that he has risen to. In this case, when she left the man, he was reportedly making approximately 60 pounds per month as a mathematician in Moscow. But, hey. You never know. She just might pull it off. She’s certainly got herself some fancy lawyers. It is rumoured they are the folks who repped Princess Diana and a few other London heavy weights in their divorce.
This is a long and convoluted story and surely, it will not be sifted through in one blog post. Suffice to say it was just good timing on his part, and being around the right people at the right time that seemed to propel Berezovsky from living “pay check to pay check” to being one of the wealthiest individuals in the entire world. Says Vanity Fair:

 In their glory days, before 2001—when Vladimir Putin began to drive many of them out of Russia—Patarkatsishvili [and Berezovsky) had been among the most powerful [men in Russia], credited with having helped engineer Putin’s ascension to the presidency. [These men] had been among the men who, in the smash-and-grab capitalism that followed the Soviet Union’s collapse, amassed vast media, industrial, and business holdings.

According to the October 2009 Vanity Fair article, it was specifically in 1989 that Berezovsky and three of his friend “pooled their combined savings of $12,000 and started a company called Logavaz which would become the foundation of his business empire.” From these humble beginnings, Boris maneuvered himself to great financial prominence, even influencing the election of presidents, and at one point, being accused of helping to organize a political coup.
Boris Berezovsky, who has been living in exile from his homeland of Georgia for many years, has some big problems and this divorce from Galina is the least of it to say the least. Says the Daily Mail:

Berezovsky, 62, has been sentenced in absentia to six years in jail after being found guilty of fraud in Moscow.

In addition, here is what a Time article recently claimed that Berezovsky may be spending big to defend his legal interests:

Four prominent Russian oligarchs have been indulging in what may turn out to be the most expensive shopping spree of their lives. Never mind haute couture: it’s English High Court justice — at some $16,500 per day, with top attorneys charging up to $1,250 per hour — that’s proving the must-have purchase for wealthy Russians this season.

It is a very complicated case, decipherable only by the most nimble of legal minds, but here is a teaser from the Time report:

Berezovsky is looking for some $3.3 billion from Abramovich. His tangled skein of allegations centers on Sibneft, an energy concern acquired at the end of 1995 by Berezovsky and Abramovich during the privatization of the Russian energy sector, and Rusal, a company formed in 2000 when Abramovich merged his metals businesses with those of Oleg Deripaska, another prominent oligarch. Stakes in Rusal were also held by Berezovsky and a Georgian businessman, Arkady (Badri) Patarkatsishvili.
Berezovsky, whose star rose under Boris Yeltsin and plummeted when Vladimir Putin came to power, alleges that Abramovich persuaded him and Patarkatsishvili to part with their interests in both companies at knockdown prices by warning them that the Kremlin would otherwise seize their assets and they would get nothing at all for them. Berezovsky had already been forced to surrender his media enterprises in Russia and fled the country for Britain in 2001. Berezovsky claims that Abramovich also promised to intercede on behalf of Nikolai Glushkov, a former associate of Berezovsky’s who had been arrested on fraud charges and was seriously ill.

It is not just his legal problems that haunt Mr. Berezovsky. It is a plethora of issues, some of which may very well be emotional.  But there is one over-riding reason why Galina may be out of luck with getting her soft, white hands on any of the £ 100 million pounds she so desperately desires, and it is: THE DEATH OF HER HUSBAND’S BEST FRIEND, A MAN BY THE NAME OF BADRI PATARKATSISHVILI.
Badri Patarkatsishvili and Boris Berezovsky were apparently best friends for many, many years. They became billionaires together according to quoted media reports. They were business partners and best buddies and confidants. They also reportedly did business without putting anything in writing. When Badri died suddenly in February, 2008, he is said to have left a mess of an estate like nobody has seen in these modern times. Further, he had completely left Boris out of his will, even though Boris claims that he is owed 50% of reported £ 12 million fortune!
As we speak, Boris is at war with BADRI PATARKATSISHVILI’s wife, Inna Patarkatsishvili. The two are battling a number of other players, over the authenticity of a will that is claimed to be Badri’s. As a result, Badri’s entire estate is frozen. And as a result of that, Boris can’t get his hands on any cash. In fact, he’s recently suffered the embarrassment of having to sell off his yacht, bought to compete with his other fellow Russian oligarch, and a billionaire we have discussed above, Roman Abramovich
Well, she should forge ahead. No reason to give up on getting any of the money just because there may be nothing to get and just because she may not have “earned” it simply by remaining “legally married” to a man for 16 years long after the marriage had constructively been over. This is a hundred million pounds we are talking about after all. She may not get all of it. But I am certain that she won’t walk away empty handed. She’s well advised to stay the course. And keep pushing. It’s bound to pay off eventually.
Reporting by Georgina Cavendish, United Kingdom

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