Divorce as a way to withdraw funds of Russian oligarchs to Europe

There are 102 billionaires with Russian roots in the 2020 Forbes global ranking. The leader of the list is Vladimir Potanin. He has five children and is married for the second time. Divorce with his first wife wasn`t so easy for the co-owner of Norilsk Nickel. One of the stages of his perennial process of divorce proceedings with ex-wife Natalya was among the high-profile cases of the famous lawyer, Baroness Fiona Shackleton. This “iron lady” of divorces has been nicknamed the Steel Magnolia – one hour of her work costs £ 1,000, according to a study by the Center for Policy Studies. Finally, Potanin won the lawsuit against his ex-wife, paying her not a half of his funds, but only $ 41.5 million. Less fortunate was the billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov, in these divorce proceedings Shackleton accepted the side of Tatyana, the ex-wife of businessman. In 2016, a London court ordered Akhmedov to pay his ex-wife 41.5% of his funds – £ 453 million. The billionaire didn`t agree that, the lawsuit continues.

But we know other examples when divorce is a tool for withdrawing funds, when the biggest share of the funds is given to the ex-wife during a divorce. The logic is clear – the spouse is neither a founder nor a director in companies that are involved in cases and which may be sanctioned. In this case, the task for the oligarch can be considered completed – his capital belongs to one woman who has not been seen in any scandals.

Alexander and Anna Kopylkov began preparing reserve bridgeheads in advance, having lived in Russia and made a fortune there on contracts with the Russian Guard (a military organization reporting directly to Putin).

In the difficult situation in Russia preceding the war, Alexander Kopylkov was as comfortable as possible making money. He established contacts with the Putin regime and earned a huge amount of funds (his fortune is estimated at 500 million euros).

But it is better to raise 4 children in a tolerant and civilized Europe. How did he manage to become a Portuguese citizen so quickly?

The Sephardic Jew Act turned out to be the fastest and most realistic way to settle in Europe. Kopylkov successfully remembered his Jewish roots and in 2017 he issued passports for the whole family in Israel. Then a divorce process started, as a result Anna Aleksandrovna Kopylkova was awarded a significant sum. This was followed by the receipt of documents for the whole family in Portugal.

It was quite easy for Anna Kopylkova, as a free, not involved in her husband’s business person, to obtain a residence permit and legally withdraw funds from Russia to Europe. Alexander Kopylkov took advantage of the Sephardi law and received citizenship for himself and his children. The Kopylkov family continue living together despite the “divorce”, according to information from a source who wished to remain anonymous, the divorced couple is going to build a house for the entire large family in Lisbon.

Does Portugal really want to become a “gray haven” for bloody Russian business? Just like Cyprus already did so and paid for that?