Court hears Hong Kong tycoon tricked into giving away fortune

April 14th, 2009 - 5:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, April 14 (DPA) Asia’s richest woman signed a will giving away her entire $13 billion fortune believing that the document was only for use in a feng shui ceremony, a court heard Tuesday.
Nina Wang, who died of cancer aged 69, was told by feng shui master Tony Chan to sign the 2006 will which he said would be burned later to give her a longer life, Hong Kong’s High Court was told.

Instead, according to an expert report given to the court by Wang’s family, Chan kept the document and used it to claim her estate after her death in 2007.

The accusation was immediately rebutted by Chan’s lawyer who said it was unfair to make an allegation of fraud based upon a report written by another feng shui expert.

Feng shui is a traditional Chinese practice of divining the elements such as wind and water to ensure good fortune. Hong Kong people regularly consult feng shui masters to determine the best days for everything from moving house and office to getting married.

The claim is the latest twist in a sensational battle over the fortune of Wang, former head of the Chinachem property empire, with whom Chan claims he had a secret 14-year love affair.

However, Wang’s family claim the 2006 will naming Chan as sole beneficiary cannot be relied upon and that a 2002 will leaving the money to her family and charities should be used instead.

A bitter court battle is now looming over Wang’s fortune, estimated to be worth up to 100 billion Hong Kong dollars ($12.8 billion).

Lawyers for 48-year-old Chan claimed earlier that he and Wang shared a “long-lasting, close and affectionate love” from 1993 to her death.

The pair allegedly had “midnight meetings” disguised as feng shui consultations during their secret affair, which began three years after Wang’s husband Teddy was kidnapped in 1990, never to reappear.

Wang died of ovarian cancer shortly after winning an eight-year legal battle over the fortune of her husband, Teddy, whose fortune she inherited when he was declared legally dead.

Wang then built Chinachem into a multimillion-dollar business conglomerate, but initially lost a probate battle with her elderly father-in-law, which also centred around the authenticity of a will.

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