Potanin Ex-Wife Loses Claim for Half Billionaire’s Norilsk Stake

Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin’s ex-wife lost a case claiming half of his assets, including shares in Norilsk Nickel PJSC, the world’s second-biggest producer of the metal.

Moscow’s Presnenskiy court rejected Natalia Potanina’s demand, filed in April, for 50 percent of her former spouse’s property in their divorce settlement, her press service said by phone on Wednesday.

“The judge’s argument was that Norilsk and Interros weren’t family property and splitting them could damage the interests of third parties,” said Oksana Kosachenko, Potanina’s press secretary. Interros is the businessman’s holding company. Potanina’s legal team will wait to study the written decision before deciding whether to appeal, Kosachenko said.

Given Norilsk’s strategic significance for Russia, Potanina had said she would hand over management of the stake to the state to avoid a shareholder conflict. In July, Potanina said she’s ready for out-of-court settlement if offered “appropriate compensation,” the RIA Novosti newswire reported.

Potanin, 54, has a $15.6 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He controls 30 percent of Norilsk and is the nickel company’s chief executive officer.

Last year, the billionaire’s ex-wife failed to persuade a Cyprus court to freeze his assets. The judge in Limassol ruled that only a Russian court could hear the case.

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