Russian media tycoon caught in $400M marital property split – reports

The owner and chief editor of one of the Russias leading tabloids has been taken to court by his wife who seeks division of assets, including shares in media companies, worth at least 27 billion roubles.

On Thursday, the Presnensky District Court in Moscow will have the first closed hearings into the property division between Pavel Gusev, chief editor of Moskovsky Komsomolets daily and the owner of several major firms operating in the mass media market, and his wife Yevgeniya Yefimova who heads the united publishing house of the mayor and government of Moscow City.

An unnamed source in the Presnensky District Court has told RIA Novosti that the overall value of assets which can face division is at least 27 billion roubles, or over $400 million. The press secretary of the court, Aleksei Chernikov, confirmed future hearings are to take place, but refused to give any additional details.

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Yefimovas lawyer, Marina Dubrovskaya, told RIA Novosti that her client sought half of the marital property and confirmed that the overall value of common assets was at least 27 billion roubles. The lawyer added that Gusev did not agree to the 50:50 split of property and proposed another scheme which does not satisfy his wife. The lawyer also said that the couple have not yet discussed the possibility of divorce, the lawsuit concerned only property issues.

RIA Novosti also quoted unnamed sources “acquainted with the situation” as saying that the pair wanted to distribute ownership rights to stakes in several mass media companies, most of which are connected with the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily and Moskovskaya Pravda publishing house – a media conglomerate that was created back in Soviet times (the name of the newspaper translates as “A member of Young Communists League from Moscow”) – as well as business and residential real estate and plots of land in the Moscow region.

Gusev, 69, is a veteran of modern Russian journalism. In May this year he celebrated the 35th anniversary of his work in Moskovsky Komsomolets. In Soviet times he made a good career in Komsomol (USSRs Young Communists League), rising to the post of executive in the International Relations Department of the papers Central Committee. After Perestroika and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Gusev concentrated on his work in mass media, but also briefly worked as an acting minister of press and information in the Moscow city government.

Gusev is also a member of the Russian Public Chamber where he heads the Commission for the Support of Mass Media.

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