Natalia Demina has explained to Forbes how the sanctions imposed on mr Potanin could affect his divorce

Natalia Demina - Partner

On 27 June 2022, Vladimir Potanin, the second richest man in Russia, challenged in the Supreme Court of the UK a decision to have his divorce proceedings heard by a British court. On 29 June 2022, the UK authorities imposed personal sanctions on the billionaire. This measure might influence on the venue and prospects of the dispute over the transfer to the businessman’s ex-wife of 50% of his stake in Nornickel (valued at about $9.1bn) and half of all dividends paid since 2014.

Natalia Demina, Partner and Head of Private Wealth practice at Maxima Legal, explained Forbes magazine that there were no formal grounds for refusing to continue legal protection for Vladimir Potanin in the English court in connection with the sanctions imposed by the UK. She stressed that the sanctions imply an “Asset freeze, Travel Ban and a ban, Technical assistance related to aircraft”, but do not limit his right to a trial.

However, according to Natalia Demina, difficulties may arise with the enforcement of a court decisions: there is no agreement on legal assistance and procedures for recognition and enforcement of court decisions between Russia and the UK. So decisions from both sides can only be recognized and enforced under the general rules of international cooperation. “We fear that these principles will not be applied in relations between the countries in the near future,” the expert explained.

Furthermore, Natalia Demina pointed out that “divorces are often used by sub-sanctioned individuals to save assets. Assets are first rewritten to the spouse, then a fictitious divorce takes place, which preserves them from the risks of foreclosure and freezing”. Thus, if the ex-wife is able to sue Potanin for something, she will need to prove that she was not in cahoots with him. However, given the “loudness” of the process and Potanina’s public statements, such thoughts are unlikely to occur to anyone.

To read the full article (in Russian) please visit Forbes`s website >>>