The former spouse of the head of Interros and the president of Norilsk Nickel, Vladimir Potanin, Natalia appealed to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation (the Supreme Court) refusals of lower courts on divorce matters. In fact, for Mrs. Potanina this is the last chance to receive compensation for shares in the assets of the ex-husband - in her estimation, this is about 1 trillion rubles.
On Wednesday, Natalia Potanina filed complaints with the RF Armed Forces on the division of property with her former husband Vladimir Potanin. She asks to revoke the decisions of the Presnensky Court and the Moscow City Court and refer cases for new consideration.
The lawsuits of the ex-spouse are almost four years, the processes are closed. The marriage was terminated in February 2014, in 2015, in the lawsuit of Vladimir Potanin, the court divided between the spouses property in Russia and money in the accounts. Mr. Potanin insisted that in fact the family relations of the spouses ceased on January 16, 2007, with which the court agreed. In this regard, the couple share the property that belonged to them on this date.
Natalia Potanina filed three lawsuits regarding the division of rights into MMC Norilsk Nickel (now Mr. Potanin is a beneficiary of 30.4% of shares), Polyus Gold (now Polyus, Mr. Potanin owned 37% of shares until 2009) and KM- Invest (a joint company of Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Prokhorov, after the division of their business in 2007-2009, was reorganized with the allocation of assets, its successor is Mr. Khokhlov Interros LLC, controlled by Mr. Potanin). In the first lawsuit in 2015, Natalia Potanina referred to the fact that the ex-spouse is a beneficiary of 47.9 million shares of MMC and 100% of Cyprus Interros International Investments Ltd (participated in the holding of MMC until October 2014), and asked to transfer her the right to half shares. But the claim was rejected: the court considered that the shares can not be divided, since they are registered for offshore companies, and the Family Code of the Russian Federation does not know the beneficial ownership.
Then Mrs. Potanina asked to divide offshore shares, the rights of Vladimir Potanin's claim as a beneficiary to the trusts, the managers of the shares of Norilsk Nickel and Polyus, or to pay compensation of 849 billion rubles. As regards the rights to Norilsk Nickel, the court terminated the proceedings, considering that the requirements are identical with those announced in 2015. And according to the requirements concerning the "Pole", the court decided that the statute of limitations was missed. According to the court, the spouse knew about the sale of shares of Polyus Gold to Suleiman Kerimov's structures in 2009 and then had to take measures to protect their rights. Due to missing the statute of limitations, the court also denied the claim for rights to 49.9% of KM-Invest or a payment of 215 billion rubles. The appeal and the cassation left these decisions unchanged.
Representative of Natalia Potanina Pavel Konovalov confirmed to Kommersant the fact of submitting complaints to the Armed Forces. According to him, the plaintiff does not agree with the admission of the statute of limitations, nor with the identity of the claims. Representative of Interros and lawyer Vladimir Potanin on divorce Tatyana Starikova declined to comment.
Partner of the ICA "Soldatkin, Green and Partners" Olga Zelenaya believes that the court incorrectly applied the rules on the limitation period: "This contradicts Art. 38 of the Family Code, and the practice of the Armed Forces, which indicated that the period can not begin before the divorce, otherwise after the divorce it will be impossible to demand the division of property. " She notes that the courts of general jurisdiction almost do not apply the concept of "beneficiary", although there are decisions of the Armed Forces on family disputes with trusts, which pointed to the possibility of sharing property that the spouse does not own directly. Head of the Bar Association "Adamova & Partners" Irina Adamova recalls that the concept of "beneficiary" is in the law on combating money laundering, in the Tax Code: "The courts did not interfere with the application of this concept by analogy to the law."
According to Olga Zelena, there is a chance to reconsider the cases: "The dispute is quite loud, the Presnensky court has committed fundamental violations of the law, so the cases must be transferred to the Supreme Court." Irina Adamova adds that since the property has already been alienated, the right to a share can not be recognized, but the plaintiff has the right to demand compensation.