How oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev's aides plotted his wife's arrest in Cyprus

By and Michel Henry

In 2014, at the height of a bitter divorce battle with his wife of 23 years, Elena Rybolovleva, Russian multi-billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev organised the arrest of his wife when she travelled to Cyprus, where much of his fortune is placed, to discuss a settlement with him. The oligarch is close to high-ranking figures in Cyprus, and the circumstances of the arrest were, at the very least, highly unusual, while confidential messages swapped at the time by Rybolovlev’s aides spoke of secret meetings with a man called “our friend”, and a “president”. In this third report in a seven-part series of investigations into the oligarch’s activities, Mediapart unveils the disturbing background to Elena Rybolovleva’s arrest.

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In 2014, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev was locked in a fierce divorce battle with his wife Elena Rybolovleva, fought out in the Swiss courts where she launched the petition. His immense wealth, much of it placed in Cyprus-based trusts and today estimated by Forbes magazine at 6.8 billion dollars, was at stake, and the gloves were off that year as the deadline for a ruling on their divorce became imminent.