Asia’S richest woman gave away fortune in return for ‘eternal life’

November 11th, 2008 - 11:01 am ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, Nov 11 (DPA) Asia’s richest woman allegedly gave away her multi-billion-US-dollar fortune to a Hong Kong feng shui master in return for a promise of eternal life, a news report said Tuesday.Nina Wang, who died of cancer last year at age 69, signed over her vast fortune to previously unknown feng shui master Tony Chan as a result of the promise, a lawyer quoted by the South China Morning Post said.

The claim was made by a barrister for the late billionaire’s charitable foundation in a preliminary hearing Monday to challenge the will of Wang, former head of Hong Kong’s Chinachem property empire.

A highly anticipated, eight-week court battle is due to be held next year in Hong Kong’s High Court into Wang’s will, which left the Chinachem fortune - estimated to be worth up to $13 billion - to Chan.

Wang changed her will in 2006 to leave everything to the feng shui master, voiding a previous will written four years earlier that left the fortune to her family and to charity.

At Monday’s hearing in the High Court, the Post reported, barrister Geoffrey Vos accused Chan of using his influence to deceive Wang into leaving him her fortune.

“We say (Tony 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,” Vos was quoted as saying.

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

Her sisters and other relatives filed a suit through the 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 only 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 multi-billion-dollar business empire but initially lost a probate battle with her elderly father-in-law.

In a 2002 hearing, the High Court heard claims that Nina Wang had an affair in the 1960s that led Teddy to write her out of his will, though 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 claim that Wang had forged the will.

Despite her enormous wealth, Wang, who had 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.

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