Panama Papers: How the 1% get divorced

Dmitri Rybolovlev and his daughter Ekaterina Rybolovlev. Rybolovlev was involved in a cat and mouse game of hiding assets after his divorce. Photo / Getty
Dmitri Rybolovlev and his daughter Ekaterina Rybolovlev. Rybolovlev was involved in a cat and mouse game of hiding assets after his divorce. Photo / Getty

When billionaires go through a bitter divorce, they might not want their spouse knowing how much money they're entitled to.

That's where law firms like Mossack Fonseca come in, the recently leaked Panama Papers show.

Rather than divvy out the multi million dollar assets, the wealthy can move their money offshore in order to hide it from prying exes and lawyers.

Spouses face an uphill battle trying to prove ownership of these disappeared assets and lawyers go to great lengths of pursuit in a cat and mouse game to hide and find their clients wealth.

According to the ICIJ, the world's wealthy (and mostly men), have used Mossack Fonseca in order to hide their wealth and assets during marriage breakdowns.

Russian billionaire Dmitri Rybolovlev and his wife Elena exemplify the extremes people will go to in order to protect themselves from divorce, and conversely to pursue the money.

Elena Rybolovleva filed for divorce in 2008 while the couple were living in Switzerland. Under Swiss law, each spouse was entitled to an equal split of the couple's wealth.

Mr. Rybolovlev used offshore accounts and shell companies to move valuable assets and cash abroad and away from his spouse.

She, meanwhile, pursued him to get her own back and, after years of chasing, was awarded $4.5 billion in a Swiss court.

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