Mysterious death of Russian billionaire tycoon sparks UK court battle

Mysterious death of Russian billionaire tycoon probed by the Kremlin sparks UK court battle between his girlfriend and ex-wife over his huge fortune including £12million Surrey mansion

  • Vladimir Alekseyevich Scherbakov had been under investigation by the Kremlin 
  • He was in probe over fraud allegations when he was found hanged in Belgium
  • Death came despite him being ‘excited’ at prospect of charges could be dropped
  • The mysterious death of a Russian billionaire has sparked a British court battle between his girlfriend and ex-wife over the fortune he left behind.

    Tycoon Vladimir Alekseyevich Scherbakov, 56, had been under investigation by the Kremlin over fraud allegations when he was found hanged in Belgium.

    His death came despite him reportedly being ‘excited’ that the charges against him could soon be dropped.

    The tussle over his huge fortune – which includes the £12million Surrey mansion he shared with girlfriend Brigita Morina, 41 – has now reached London’s High Court.

    Miss Morina – a former creative director of Swiss watchmakers DeLaneau – claims two wills he made in England left almost all his fortune to her and her children.

    The tussle over his huge fortune – which includes the £12million Surrey mansion he shared with girlfriend Brigita Morina, 41 – has now reached London’s High Court

    The tussle over his huge fortune – which includes the £12million Surrey mansion he shared with girlfriend Brigita Morina, 41 – has now reached London’s High Court

    But the originals of the wills have ‘not been found’. Meanwhile, his ex-wife Elena Vladimirovna Scherbakova and his grown-up son and daughter, Alexander and Olga, claim his fortune should be split equally between all his offspring. 

    They say the financier and Miss Morina were no longer in a relationship when he died in June 2017 and that, even if he did make wills in her favour, they must have been torn up when he left her and moved to Belgium before he died.

    He had married Mrs Scherbakova in Russia in 1989, with the couple then moving to Belgium.

    Court documents state that Mr Scherbakov had children with both women and lived with them each for years, spending his time in England with Miss Morina at Granville House in Weybridge, Surrey. 

    Tycoon Vladimir Alekseyevich Scherbakov, 56, had been under investigation by the Kremlin over fraud allegations when he was found hanged in Belgium

    Tycoon Vladimir Alekseyevich Scherbakov, 56, had been under investigation by the Kremlin over fraud allegations when he was found hanged in Belgium

    Mr Scherbakov had two children with Miss Morina, who already had a son from another relationship and who she claims he treated as his own child.

    According to court papers, his other UK assets included a townhouse in Belgravia, London, and a £400,000 wine collection. 

    He also had properties in Italy and Belgium, and offshore companies based in the British Virgin Islands worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Miss Morina’s lawyer Gilead Cooper QC said the pair were still firmly a couple when he died, despite his move to Belgium.

    The barrister said this move had simply been due to the Russian criminal investigation.

    Mr Cooper said: ‘It remained the deceased’s intention to return to England as soon as he felt it was safe to do so. In or about April 2017, the deceased was informed that the prosecution against him in Russia was going to be dropped. He telephoned Brigita to tell her how excited he was that he would be able to return to London.

    ‘However, he did not want to risk doing so until the prosecution had been formally abandoned. On June 10, 2017, [he] was found dead in the house in Belgium. There were signs indicating a suicide.’

    The preliminary hearing was held earlier this month. A full trial of the will dispute is yet to be heard.

    Court documents state that Mr Scherbakov had children with both women and lived with them each for years, spending his time in England with Miss Morina at Granville House in Weybridge, Surrey

    Court documents state that Mr Scherbakov had children with both women and lived with them each for years, spending his time in England with Miss Morina at Granville House in Weybridge, Surrey

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