The wife of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has filed for divorce, it has been confirmed. A spokeswoman for Slavica Ecclestone said the announcement had been prompted by media speculation.
This year's Sunday Times Rich List estimated her husband's personal fortune to be in excess of £2bn. Mrs Ecclestone will be represented by divorce lawyer Liz Vernon, who represented the wife of Arsenal and England footballer Ray Parlour in 2004. She secured a deal which gave her client a third of her ex-husband's future earnings for four years.
Simon Bethel, a family law specialist with law firm Mills & Reeve, said: "Given Mr and Mrs Ecclestone were reputed to be worth £2.4bn in the 2008 Rich List, this case may see the highest award to a wife in legal history." He added that if Mrs Ecclestone filed for divorce in the UK, she could be awarded as much as half of her husband's fortune.
He said: "If Mrs Ecclestone is keen to push for a substantial award, and on the face of it there is no reason why she should not, she could maybe end up with a third or a half of his fortune." The couple, who married in 1985, have two daughters, Petra, 19, and Tamara, 24.
Mr Ecclestone, 77, has a stake in Alpha Prema, which owns Formula One. Last year he diversified when he took over Championship football club Queens Park Rangers with Renault team boss Flavio Briatore.