New York’s most expensive apartment has bounced back in the news.
It has caused another twist in what appears to become the most expensive divorce. Dimitry Rybolovlev, a Russian billionaire oligarch is at the centre of all the controversy. The Russian who made his fortune from fertilizer bought a palatial penthouse in New York overlooking the Central Park for a whopping $88 million. It was the most expensive property sold in New York. The purchase was made through a private company held by a trust. It is not directly controlled by Mr Rybolovlev and operates independently. The Russian oligarch’s estranged wife Elena who is fighting a bitter battle for divorce, alleges that the property was bought at an exorbitant price as part of a strategy to hide his assets.
Officially the 6,744 square feet apartment was bought for Dimitry’s elder daughter Ekaterina Rybolovleva who is scheduled to take a course this autumn at Harvard in Massachusetts. Miss Rybolovleva, 22, a Monaco resident and keen horsewoman will be able to use the apartment when she visits the city in her free time. The stunning penthouse with panoramic views of Central Park was bought from the wife of Sandy Weill, the former head of Citigroup. The prestigious building houses a slew of financial big-hitters apart from celebrities like the rock star Sting and popular actor Denzel Washington. The transaction had raised many eyebrows at the time of purchase in February because the full asking price was paid for the property. In the current situation of the real estate market it is unimaginable.
Mrs Rybolovleva, 45 who is in the midst of a bitter divorce battle has raised the matter in new York supreme court. She claims that the trust that purchased the apartment is a sham entity and the transaction was conducted in breach of a Swiss court order that has frozen the Russian’s assets. Last year he had reportedly made an $800 million settlement offer to his estranged wife who summarily rejected it. She claims that the tycoon is worth $9 billion and has been trying to hide his assets through outlandish expenses and investments. It doesn’t make sense that he would spend $88 million that his daughter could use occasionally at best as she would not be studying in the city.
The estranged couple who are fighting over millions and billions of dollars and trophy homes across Europe had started off their life without a single rouble in their name. They married early when they were both aged 21 in 1987. It was in 1989 that there first daughter Ekaterina was born. Now people know her all over the world because the New York penthouse was allegedly bought for her. The Soviet Union fell soon after that and Rybolovlev joined the rank of entrepreneurs who seized on the rock-bottom sell-off of state businesses and earned huge profits to transform into mega-rich oligarchs. He made his fortune by becoming the biggest producer of fertilizer and is also known as the potash king. He shifted with his family to Switzerland in the mid 90s. His wife filed the divorce petition in 2008.