Russian Billionaire Claims Ex-Wife Is Selling Off Art Collection

Shalva Chigirinsky claims his ex-wife is secretly selling art. Say what?

Tatiana Panchenkova, Valentine's Evening Hosted by Benny Shabtai. ©Patrick McMullan.

According to the New York Post, Russian oil tycoon and billionaire Shalva Chigirinsky has accused his ex-wife, Tatiana Panchenkova, of secretly selling off pieces from their $120 million collection of art, antiques, and furniture. During divorce proceedings, Panchenkova accused her husband of continued domestic abuse over the course of their 10-year relationship, but agreed to preserve the collection. Panchenkova’s lawyer, Bruce Marks, called the accusation against his client, “a frivolous and vindictive lawsuit brought in retribution for Mrs. Panchenkova’s filing in Connecticut accusing him of beating her.”

The stash in question reportedly includes “a 37-carat diamond ring worth $3.6 million, an emerald ring and a ruby necklace worth $1.9 million, a “historic library of Russian literature,” “precious items” from Fabergé, fine art, Oriental carpets, chandeliers, furniture, and decorative vases, according to Manhattan Supreme Court papers. There is no more information regarding the specifics of the fine art at this time.

“She had no intention of maintaining the property in trust as she promised,” Chigirinsky scoffed. For her part, Panchenkova has spoken extensively about the abuse she suffered at her ex-husband’s hands, claiming he both threatened and attempted to kill her on several occasions. This is not Chigirinsky’s first time embroiled in a nasty lawsuit. In 2009, Sibir Energy, a company for which he was a major shareholder, reportedly sued him for at least $325 million for a failed bid to sell his real estate assets to the company after they discovered that his debt from controversial property deals was higher than had previously been announced. He has also been investigated for tax evasion in Moscow, though the case was eventually closed.

Panchenkova is heavily involved with the Russian Arts Foundation, where she has previously co-chaired fundraising galas.

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