A real estate drama spanning two continents

2017-05-04

Being a Russian oligarch is not all that it's cracked up to be.

In fact, two native billionaires are involved in a serious, "soap-operatic" dispute. The trans-continental intrigue involves a friend of Vladimir Putin and an ex-partner thousands of miles away in a Moscow jail. The story has twists and turns that involves money and betrayal with a little infidelity sprinkled in for good measure.

Sergei Polonsky is a real estate developer awaiting trial in Russia on embezzlement charges. Prior to his incarceration, he had invested in the Aqua project on Allison Island 10 years ago and sold off all but one of the units.

Roman Trotsenko, a personal acquaintance of the current Russian president, is an airport and shipping magnate. He had a falling out with his former business partner over real estate and romance. The dispute has now taken the form of a lawsuit filed by Trotsenko over ownership of a five-bedroom, five-bathroom townhouse in Miami Beach valued at $1.5 million.

Trotsenko's lawsuit is requesting that a Miami-Dade Circuit enforce a ruling made in London granting ownership of the home to Polonsky's former girlfriend Yulia Drynkina. Currently, the mother of his three children lives in Moscow.

The oligarch's attorneys claim the business relationship soured after Polonsky "breached" two deeds to transfer title. He also failed to give Drynkina $375,000 from the proceeds of another unit sold for $1.85 million in 2015.

Polonsky wants the judge to throw out the suit because the dispute can only be legally resolved in Florida, not London. His attorney claims that he owns the 5,400 square foot townhome and had already given it to his girlfriend for their time together and the three children the now-former couple had.

Not to mention, the $800,000 and a Moscow home worth $2.5 million he gave her.

Polonsky claims that Trotsenko and his ex have an ulterior motive. By taking the home, they both can financially undermine his criminal embezzlement defense. He asserts that his former business partner and longtime life partner want to prevent him from funding not only his criminal defense in Moscow, but also his civil case in Florida.

The cliffhanger-like decision is pending.

Posted on Real Estate Litigation