Sunday 15 January 2012

But Please Your Honour, He Can't Even Pay For A Haircut

Tony Chan says he can get his hands on HK$130 million. Photo by Dickson Lee

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Tony Chan says he has cash to pay estate's huge legal bill (SCMP; paywall)
Fung shui master files affidavit, but won't say if it lists all assets sought in HK$130m action
Joyce Man
Jan 14, 2012

Self-styled fung shui master Tony Chan Chun-chuen says he has the HK$130 million he would need to cover legal fees an estate administrator says he owes for his failed bid to take over the assets of the late billionaire Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum.

A representative for the businessman said Chan filed an affidavit in the High Court yesterday just before a 5pm deadline requiring him to detail every asset he has worth HK$100,000 or more. But the representative, Kenis Liu, declined to say whether the document included the full accounting the court had sought.

Chan has been quoted in news reports in recent days suggesting that he might instead provide HK$130 million cash as security or documents attesting to the value of a property he owns in the Mid-Levels.

"Mr Chan says his assets can cover the legal costs," Liu said. "Today, he filed an affidavit."

The temporary administrator of the Wang estate, accountants Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, had last month secured a temporary injunction to freeze enough of Chan's assets to settle the massive legal bill. The court also ordered him to provide the asset list.

In October, Chan lost his lawsuit against the Chinachem Charitable Foundation over control of Wang's HK$50 billion estate. Wang, the late chairwoman of Chinachem and once Asia's richest woman, died of cancer in 2007, aged 69.

Lawyer Albert Luk Wai-hung, who is not involved in the case, said, in general, people who had been ordered to furnish the court with material and cannot provide it might try submitting alternative material in lieu. In such cases, they could apply for sought permission in advance.

Such individuals can also ask for more time to supply what was originally asked, Luk said. Judges who see that a person had made a genuine effort to provide what it ordered and was unable to do so, would be likely to be more understanding. If that person misses the deadline, the judge might summons him to explain why.

The judiciary said it would not comment on individual cases.

It is unclear whether HK$130 million the estate says Chan owes comes on top of the HK$200 million the Chinachem foundation estimates to be its own legal costs from the court battle. The case ended on October 24 after the Court of Final Appeal held a four-hour hearing and dismissed Chan's application to overturn previous rulings.

Chan had claimed that Wang left him her fortune out of love in a 2006 will and showed videos of them together in an attempt to prove the depth of their relationship.

The court ruled that document a fake and that an earlier will held by the foundation was genuine.

The businessman, who has also been called a fung shui master, has been charged with forgery and using a false document.

He is next scheduled to attend court on April 17 and May 14 for hearings in the case. He is currently on bail.

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