Asia’s richest woman was feng shui master’s lover, court told

November 15th, 2008 - 11:43 am ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, Nov 15 (DPA) Asia’s richest woman, according to court testimony, was the lover of a feng shui master for 14 years before leaving him her entire multibillion-US-dollar fortune, a news report said Saturday.Lawyers for feng shui master Tony Chan said he and Nina Wang shared a “long-lasting, close and affectionate love” from 1993 to her death last year, the South China Morning Post reported.

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

The claims were made at a preliminary High Court hearing Friday after lawyers for Wang’s relatives had claimed Wang was tricked into giving away her fortune to Chan in return for a promise of eternal life.

Wang, head of Hong Kong’s Chinachem property empire, died of cancer at the age of 69 after signing her fortune, estimated at up to $13 billion, to the little-known feng shui master.

An eight-week court battle was due to take place next year between Chan and Wang’s family, which claims she was deceived into bequeathing her fortune to Chan.

A barrister for Wang’s relatives claimed in court last week that Chan “lied to the deceased by telling her that performing certain feng shui practices - including putting his name in her will - would ensure that she would live forever or at least a very long time.”

But after Friday’s hearing, Chan’s attorney Jonathan Midgley said the allegations were “hurtful” and Chan had been forced to disclose his secret relationship with Wang because of the claims.

“He knew that once there was a court case, it would be difficult to keep the nature of his relationship confidential and private,” Midgley told reporters outside the court.

With no children of her own, Wang wrote a new will in 2006, two years after her ovarian cancer was diagnosed, making Chan, 48, her sole beneficiary.

Her sisters and other relatives filed a suit through a charitable foundation to fight for the estate, which was originally to be shared between charities and family members in an earlier 2002 will.

Wang died shortly after winning an eight-year legal battle over the fortune of her husband, Teddy, which she inherited after he was kidnapped in 1990 and later declared dead when no trace of him was ever found.

She built his company, Chinachem, into a multibillion-US-dollar business empire but initially lost a probate battle with her elderly father-in-law, which also centred around the authenticity of a will.

In a 2002 hearing, the High Court heard claims that Nina Wang had an affair in the 1960s that led her husband to write her out of his will although they remained married.

Appeals court judges initially ruled she had probably forged the will of her late husband, and after the ruling, police charged Nina Wang with forgery.

The charges were dropped, however, after Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal overturned the probate decision and ruled there was no evidence to support the forgery claim.

Despite her enormous wealth, Wang, who fixed her hair in pigtails and wore mini-skirts well into her 60s, was notoriously frugal, once claiming she needed only around $400 a month to live in pricey Hong Kong.

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