Natalia Potanina: "The proposal on divorce came as a shock"

The former wife of billionaire Vladimir Potanin, gave an interview to Forbes Woman, saying about the finale of her marriage, children, family, and property division.
Origin source
Vladimir Potanin 8 divorced his wife Natalia at the end of 2013. The proceedings on the division of property in a Russian court proceed in parallel ex-wife in a US court seeking the disclosure of a number of "Interros" holding company owner of the assets.

Forbes Woman: Nataliya how long did your marriage?

Natalia Potanin: More than thirty years. We were in the same class, pay attention to each other, when we were sixteen. He enrolled at MGIMO, I - in the MIIT on building the economy. In the last year we got married. We lived with my parents in a two-bedroom apartment in Davydkovo, there were born, our older children, Anastasia and Ivan. Life was normal - both worked, received the same salary. I worked in the Ministry of Construction of the USSR, and then in the company "Interros estate" her husband worked with the architects, oversaw the construction and other issues. When Vladimir began earning enough, we agreed that the focus of the family I will pay. Since then, the main vector of my life - family and children. All of them have become my hobby - jet ski, horse riding,ATVs. The world revolves around the family of her husband, and all vacation activities we adapts to his schedule.

For the husband's family has always been a strong rear, a place where ideas are born, where he was resting, gathering strength for the struggle, and he almost always fought.

As you had children?

NP I myself grew up in love and I know that it gives an adult a sense of confidence, security, a sense of their own strength. We have always been able to inspire - the children were told that if they want something, and will work, make sure you will do the trick. They have a lot of achievements, which I am very proud. Senior enthusiastic jetski so serious that they could compete with the world's leading athletes: daughter became world champion three times, the son - a multiple champion of Russia and world champion.

Potanin impulsive?

NP Thirty years of family storms almost was not. Yes, he has a difficult character, but I liked it. Vladimir - constructive person and always has been. He is able to engage in dialogue, and in the children we brought this quality. Quarrels happen in any family, who did not beatdishes? Quarrel - reconciled. A year ago, he threw "let's get a divorce", but it was clear that this emotion. And everything that happened in November has already been prepared, well thought-out action.

As the financial side of your life was organized?

NP payment of basic expenses occurred from offshore accounts, money from private accounts almost spent. I explained that this is done in the interests of the family. When I worked, the official salary was symbolic. Vladimir O. also did not receive high salaries to the destination CEO of "Norilsk Nickel".

What did lead to divorce?

N. To this question I do not know the answer. The proposal on divorce came as a shock. In the Sunday, November 17, 2013, we had dinner in Luzhky together with his daughter Nastya and her son Basil. It is our family tradition. After dinner, the children went to Moscow and Vladimir O. me in a rather aggressive and tough manner proposed divorce. He said I must sign papers renouncing their rights to the property and not to object to the transfer of the money to charity.It has been said that, if I decide to defend their interests in court, I have no one will ever hear.

According to Natalia, neither then nor later Potanin did not offer her financial compensation. But if she signed the paper, it "would have the right to live a quiet life and, perhaps, make requests." Oral former spouse promised to convey her own home, to pay the costs of health care and protection for her and Basil, and his education. But the issue promises in writing refused.

NP I did not agree with its terms. Five days later we were going to fly away with Basil in America: I had a scheduled operation, and the son had to prepare teachers to enroll in an American school. This plan has been a long-standing, the decision taken together and the three of us flew to New York to select the school and at home. We planned to live there with his son, and Vladimir had come when business will allow. I tried to persuade him not to decide anything spur of the moment and wait until my son did not return to the same report to the child before the exams of the intention to divorce is not very correct. Vladimir withacala agreed, but then abruptly refused. Already on November 22, the evening before our departure, the head of his guard brought me a summons. With the child's father did not talk.

I hoped that he would change his mind and we agree. This did not happen.

Have you ever started talking about the marriage contract?

NP No, this idea in my head did not come, I'm still a person of another education. I thought our family relationships are based on respect, honesty, integrity. I have never met a man who would trust more than him.

You have three children. What do they think of divorce?

NP For younger son is a tragedy. He was fifteen, difficult adolescence. Besides Basil - a favorite child, he was born in the family has an oligarch and suddenly at one point my father was not needed. In December, he called his father from America, wanted to talk, but he asked for more he did not call. Since then, they did not communicate. Nastya keeps neutrality. He and his father a good relationship, she is working with him, engaged in meadow. With Ivan more complex situation. He has worked in investment companiesAltpoint (according to Natalia, belongs Potanin -. ForbesWoman) and was fired when he tried to deal with the situation in the family. When dismissing Ivan all authorities were sent a letter requesting the withdrawal of his work visa. Now Ivan is still settled in a very good investment company.

Have you been involved in the business of her husband?

NP can not say that I was involved in her husband's daily challenges, but I had an idea of ​​his affairs. Business is akin to creativity - sometimes important to just say the idea out loud with someone who understands you. Details and nuances of Vladimir business I do not know, yes, probably, and I should not have to know them.

You said that in 2007, Potanin became to hide information from you about your business.

NP It really has become smaller share information after the business section with Mikhail Prokhorov.

In his statement of claim, he argues that this year you do not live together.

N. I think that it was a planned legal action, which was to deprive me of the right to defend their interests in court. The lawsuit of the stretchorzhenii marriage said: "Living together did not work. The marriage relationship between us ceased in January 2007. Since that time, we did not conduct a common household residing in different locations, the family is actually split up. " How is the family split up, if the decision to divorce, he announced at a family dinner?

Natalia remembers as they rested together with her husband all these years. In 2008, a large company celebrated its 47th anniversary - "together with their children, friends and colleagues of the former husband's family made a magazine for his" Kapitan ". That same year, the whole family took part in a large festival in Monaco, where launches yacht Anastasia, named after his daughter. June and August last year, held on the same boat together with friends of the family, and in October, planned to spend the autumn holiday on the yacht of Basil and the Maldives. "But Vladimir did not come", - says Natalya. According to her, photos and videos on family vacation court did not take note of, as well as witnesses. Natalia herself the date of family breakdown considers the same day the court Potanin. In the division of joint property in F datematic termination of family relationships can be crucial - according to the explanations of the Supreme Court, the property, independently acquired by either spouse after this date is considered his personal property.

What is to be divided on this point?

NP apartment in which we spelled out, house-dresses, where my mother lives, and a house in Odintsovo on six acres with the broken roof and a stove, a bourgeois, which we heated water bucket when Nastia was born. This house was built with their own hands my parents. Divide the money and shares, however, are those that were in the accounts in 2007. It is clear that they do not exist, because there is no longer even on these asset management companies. All of this air. And it intends to share tycoon with a fortune of $ 12.6 billion! Possession mostly decorated her husband's assets through trusts, so finding the ultimate beneficiaries - a very difficult task.

In January 2007, Vladimir Potanin, 8 and his partner Mikhail Prokhorov began the general business section, then Prokhorov resigned from the "Interros" shareholders, and the structure of assets belonging to both changed significantly. horseshoesontrolnomu Potanin "Interros" owns 30.27% Mining and Metallurgical Company "Norilsk Nickel", developer company "ProfEsteyt", a network of cinemas "Cinema Park", a transport and logistics company "Interport", the manufacturer of the vaccine, "Petrovax farm" and others. The estimated the value of assets, which recognizes its Potanin in a lawsuit to divide the property, is only $ 140 million.

In February 2013 the billionaire joined the Giving Pledge - initiative, assuming a donation of at least half of his fortune to charity. According to Natalia, with her husband before taking oath not consulted.

You initiated the discovery procedure (disclosure of evidence) in America, what you want to achieve and why it is held in a US court?

NP I would like to find the assets belonging to the family and to understand how they were decorated. Know what it is - one, and prove - another. In America it has an investment company Altpoint. Its head (German Aliev -. ForbesWoman) is vice-president of "Interros", he has entree into the circle of Vladimir, and I think thatit is in the interests of Potanin owns or controls the company. The second point to reveal - "Norilsk Nickel", is a public company (the procedure is carried out with respect to its subsidiary Norilsk Nickel USA.- ForbesWoman).

Do you hope to settle the case out of court?

NP Yes. From the very beginning of this story I wanted one - to negotiate. People are given the gift of communication, it should be used. But so far all our attempts have gone unanswered.

In the absence of a marriage contract according to the law you are entitled to 50% of the property. You can become one of the richest women in the world - think of it?

NP So far, so very difficult: as prophesied my ex-husband, the court does not hear me, and it turns out I have some rights. While it is true there is a law in our country, which clearly states that the property should be divided 50/50 between the former spouses.

But I would take any decent and respectful proposal that would not offend me and our children.

How do you see your future?

NP So far my time-consuming disassembly of the endless litigation. I would like to finish it as soon as possibleand to negotiate with Vladimir. In the words of Cicero, a bad peace is better than a good quarrel.