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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Writer: Divorce Came After Talk With Putin

Roman Abramovich, the nation's richest man, agreed to divorce his wife after President Vladimir Putin told him to "clean up his act," The Daily Mail reported Thursday.

Abramovich, 40, apparently had been reluctant to get a divorce, but after the president weighed in, he changed his mind.

Irina Abramovich, 39, was reported to have confronted her husband late last year about his relationship with model Darya Zhukova. While Abramovich was reportedly reluctant to get a divorce, he refused to part ways with Zhukova.

The president, the British newspaper reported, intervened to resolve the impasse.

"Abramovich and Putin are incredibly close," explained Chris Hutchins, who has written a biography of Abramovich, the governor of the far eastern region of Chukotka and the owner of the London-based Chelsea football team. "Even though there's only a 10-year age gap between them, Putin regards Roman as something of a favorite son, and when Abramovich comes into the room Putin's face lights up.

"When the rumors about Abramovich's private life started surfacing last year, Putin told him to get his act cleaned up. Putin is a real family man, and he did not approve of Roman's relationship with Darya or the publicity it has generated."

On Wednesday, the divorce, which took place in Moscow in February, was made public.

And on Thursday, details about the divorce settlement began to surface.

Irina Abramovich will not be Russia's wealthiest woman, as some had speculated, but she will be getting $300 million from the split, Vedomosti reported.

"One [source] has noted that this sum is the total," Vedomosti reported, "and includes cash and tangible assets such as a house in Britain, a house near Moscow, a yacht and a plane."

The $300 million settlement is less than two percent of Abramovich's $18.7 billion fortune. The couple were married for 16 years and have five children. It was Abramovich's second marriage.

Abramovich's spokesman John Mann declined to comment.

The Abramovich settlement is dwarfed by the $1.7 billion that Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of U.S. News Corp, paid his ex-wife Anna in 1991 after a 32-year marriage.

The Abramovichs issued a statement Wednesday saying Roman's corporate interests -- which include the Chelsea football club and a stake in the Russian steel giant Evraz -- would not be affected. The statement added that the divorce had been conducted on a consensual basis.

Abramovich, who is an orphan, split from his first wife, Olga, in 1990 and married Irina in 1991. She had been an Aeroflot flight attendant.

The billionaire built his fortune mostly from oil and aluminum during the chaos that followed the 1991 Soviet collapse. He has become a poster boy for Russia's oligarchs, known for savvy business deals and sumptuous living.

Listed by Forbes magazines as the world's 16th richest person, he is a source of fascination for Britain's tabloid newspapers, which regularly splash photos of him and his former wife on their pages.

MT, Reuters