Over the weekend, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released the results of a year-long review of leaked papers from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Here’s what the ICIJ said about Rybolovlev:
In December 2008, Elena Rybolovleva filed for divorce, citing “a prolonged period of strained marital relations.” Under Swiss law, each spouse was entitled to an equal split of the couple’s wealth.
Deciding what assets should be part of the split wasn’t so simple. As the Rybolovlevs’ wealth had increased, so had a complex network of offshore companies.
For instance, in 2002 Mossack Fonseca had incorporated Xitrans Finance Ltd in the British Virgin Islands. The offshore company, no more than a post office box in sunny Tortola, was a mini-Louvre museum when it came to its assets; Xitrans Finance Ltd owned paintings by Picasso, Modigliani, Van Gogh, Monet, Degas and Rothko. It also bought Louis XVI style desks, tables and drawers made by some of Paris’s grandest furniture makers.
As the marriage broke down, according to notes from a court hearing sent via email to Mossack Fonseca in January 2009, Dmitri used Xitrans Finance Ltd to move these luxury items out of Switzerland to Singapore and London, beyond her reach. While Xitrans Finance Ltd was held by the Rybolovlev family trust, according to Mossack Fonseca’s records, only Dmitri Rybolovlev held shares in the company, despite Elena’s claim that Xitrans bought assets “on behalf of herself and her husband.”