A Russian billionaire has paid one of the highest prices ever for a generic domain name, shelling out $3 million for vodka.com.

Broker Sedo.com broke the news as it acted as the sales agent in the deal, which is part of an attempt by Russian Standard Co to expand into the US market.

The company is controlled by a billionaire called Roustam Tariko, who apparently closed the deal on 4 December. It imported Imperia brand vodka, which it claims was mixed by 19th century scientist Dmitri Mendeleev, into the US for the first time in September last year.

Reuters also reports that the deal is not the highest ever, however. Diamond.com was flogged to Ice.com, a luxury jewellery retailer, for $7.5 million, while Business.com went for the same price in 1999.

A source told Reuters that Sex.com cost Escom LLC $12 million, but that has never been confirmed.