14 February 2011
HONG KONG (AP) — A feng shui master pursued “a thoroughly dishonest case” in trying to claim late Hong Kong developer Nina Wang’s multibillion-dollar estate with a forged will, a court said Monday in turning away his appeal.
By persisting in the case, fortune teller Tony Chan Chun-chuen “abused the process of the court,” High Court Judge Anthony Rogers said as he read out the appeal panel’s ruling to a packed courtroom.
Wang, once Asia’s richest woman, died of cancer in 2007 at age 69. The fortune held through her private Chinachem Group has been estimated at around $100 billion Hong Kong dollars ($12.8 billion), the ruling said.
The court ruled in February 2010 in favor of an earlier will that left Wang’s estate to a charity she and her late husband founded.
The bitter dispute, which pitted Chan against the charity run by Wang’s family, fascinated Hong Kongers with its juicy revelations of Chan’s affair with Wang, who was nicknamed “Little Sweetie” for her girlish outfits and pigtail hairdo.
Chan’s appeal argued the judge was “morally offended” by the romance and let his personal views color his ruling that the second will was forged.
Chan said during the trial last year that he and Wang were in love, sharing a passion for cooking, travel, model helicopters and feng shui — the Chinese art of arranging objects and choosing dates to improve luck.
The trial judge, however, described the 51-year-old former bartender as an opportunist who knew how to ingratiate himself with others.
Wang’s brother, Kung Yan-sum, said he was “very, very happy” with the ruling.
“The court has spoken very clearly,” he said, as he held up a copy of the ruling at a news conference.
Kung said he hoped the ruling would be the end of the case, although it can still be taken to the Court of Final Appeal, Hong Kong’s highest court.
Neither Chan nor his lawyer could be reached for comment.
Wang inherited developer Chinachem after her husband was kidnapped in 1990. Despite the family paying $33 million in ransom, he was never released and his body was never found.
She built the company into a massive property developer, with office towers and apartment complexes throughout Hong Kong.
Wang met Chan, a married man 20 years her younger, in 1992 when she sought out a feng shui adviser to help locate her husband. With his patchy resume as a waiter, bartender, machinery salesman and market researcher, he made an unlikely match for Wang.
At last year’s trial, Chan testified he became involved with Wang when his wife was pregnant with their eldest son. He said she referred to him affectionately as “hubby pig.”
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