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Britains biggest ever divorce case as Russian oligarchs exwife brings claim in

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Britain’s biggest ever divorce case is set for the High Court after a Russian oligarch’s wife launched a legal bid to claim a third of his £15 billion fortune.Natalia Potanina, 58, who has lived in London for several years, lost a protracted legal battle against her former husband of 31 years in Moscow.But she is now expected to pursue Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s second wealthiest man, in the British divorce courts, long famed for their generous payouts to women.Mrs Potanina is said to have instructed Charles Howard QC to lead her case, which concerns the division of property.Her former husband, father of their three grown up children, has hired prominent divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton, dubbed the Steel Magnolia, who has represented a string of royals and celebrities, from Sir Paul McCartney to the Prince of Wales, following their marital breakdowns.Mr Potanin made his wealth in metals following the break up of the Soviet Union and is estimated to be worth in excess of £15 billion, however he has disputed that figure.Sources in Russia have suggested that she is seeking £5.8 billion, claiming that she was by his side as he built up his vast fortune. The couple split when she claimed she had been betrayed by her husband who started a relationship with an employee 15-years his junior.Baroness Shackleton is one of the most formidable divorce lawyers in the country and is currently representing Princess Haya bint Hussein – one of six wives of the ruler of Dubai – in her court battle with husband Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum .Mr Potanin has three children from his marriage to Natalia, and two from his second marriage to current wife Ekaterina.Last year a Russian billionaire was ordered to pay his ex-wife £453 million, which was thought to be the country’s biggest divorce settlement at the time.

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