Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has split with his third wife Daria Zhukova, sparking talk over how much the Russian billionaire may have to pay out as a settlement.

The couple, who met in 2005 and have two children, issued a joint statement in which they said they would split, but "remain close friends parents, and partners in the projects we developed together".

A spokesman for Abramovich would not say if the couple planned a formal divorce.

The oligarch is worth $9.2bn (£7bn), according to Forbes and with properties across the world and the world's second largest yacht, a 533 foot vessel called Eclipse worth £300m which has its own missile launch system, the details of the split, if made public, will be looked at with interest.

As well as owning Chelsea, has stakes in the mining firm Norilsk Nickel and the steel company Evraz. He rose to prominence in the 1990s when he took over the oil firm Sibneft before he sold a 73% stake for £9.9bn in the company to state-owned gas giant Gazprom.

In 2007, he announced a divorce settlement with his second wife Irina Malandina, a former flight attendant for Aeroflot with whom he had five children. The Russian business daily Vedemosti reported that he paid out a record $300m settlement (£150m at the time).

The Telegraph reported that she was given four homes, including in London's Eaton and Chester Squares and that if she had pursued her husband through Britain's courts, she may have been entitled to half his fortune.

But partner at the law firm DMH Stallard, David Leadercramer, told the Sun Online: "My belief is that unless there's been some agreement between them, the likelihood is that they'll probably get divorced in Russia.

"We are known as the divorce capital of the world here, so most women try to get divorced here if they can in the case of large wealth.

"If it was England, she would get a very considerable sum. She's been married to him for 10 years, they've got two children together. He was was a very wealthy man before he met her and he's a very wealthy man now.

"It's impossible to say what it would be at this stage. I wouldn't say hundreds of millions, but it's going to run into a lot of money."

Abramovich's first marriage was in 1987 to Olga Yurevna Lysova in 1987 before their divorce in 1990.

Zhukova, 36, is wealthy in her own right and is the daughter a Russian oil magnate, and educated in the US. She is a fixture in the international art scene, opening her Garage gallery in Moscow in 2008, which is considered one of the best art spaces in the Russian capital.

She was at the centre of a racism row in 2014 when an image emerged of her online sitting on top of a mannequin of a half-naked black woman.