MOSCOW, July 16 (RAPSI, Diana Gutsul) – The Presnensky District Court in Moscow has resumed the hearing of a lawsuit filed by company Eco Invest against Natalia Potanina, ex-wife of billionaire Vladimir Potanin, to collect a debt of over 78 million rubles ($1.4mln), RAPSI reported on Thursday.

The trial was suspended in the fall of 2014 until the Tverskoy District Court ruled on Potanina’s lawsuit filed to annul the agreement signed by Eco Invest, which Potanina’s attorneys believe to be controlled by her ex-husband, to sell the property she leased from the bank. The court has ruled against Potanina and has recognized the purchase and sale agreement as valid.

Eco Invest said in the lawsuit that it had leased three land plots with two houses to Potanina from December 2010 until September 2014. It made Potanina several offers to buy out the property, which she rejected. In early 2015, Eco Invest asked Potanina to vacate the property by June because it had found a buyer for it.

“The plaintiff has failed to turn over this property to the buyer because the defendant refused to vacate it,” reads the complaint.

The buyer terminated the purchase agreement and demanded that the bank return twice the amount of the advance payment it had made. The company filed a lawsuit to collect 78,085,637 rubles ($1.4mn) in damages from Potanina.

Potanina argued that the lawsuit was filed to deprive her of the means for a trial on the division of marital property.

In February 2014, a magistrate ruled in favor of Potanin’s request for divorce. In late June, a court granted Potanin’s petition to change the procedure for the payment of child support on behalf of his underage son. The court allowed Potanin to transfer 50 percent of the agreed upon alimony amount to a deposit account for his son Vasily, 16, until he comes of age.

In late April 2015, Natalia Potanina filed a lawsuit for ownership of 50 percent of her ex-husband’s stake in Norilsk Nickel and half of Interros International, which holds their other assets.

Under the Russian Family Code, the property acquired during a marriage is considered community property and therefore should be divided into equal parts in a divorce.

On July 10 this year, the Presnensky District Court of Moscow issued a ruling on dividing the assets of Potanin and his ex-wife.

According to a source familiar with the lawsuit, the court ruled that Vladimir Potanin keep a 407 sq m luxury apartment on Skatertny Pereulok (central Moscow) and a church, St. Blessed Tamara in the village of Anosino, in the Moscow Region.

Natalya Potanina will receive a 380 million ruble ($6.7mn) compensation for her share in the apartment as well as three plots of land in the Moscow Region.

Also, on July 30, the court will hear Natalia Potanina’s lawsuit on dividing the Norilsk Nickel and Interros shares between the former spouses.