High Court suit over Hotung trusts

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 March, 2011, 12:00am

A great-grandson of Sir Robert Hotung is suing Stanley Ho Hung-sun's sister, a relative and a company, alleging that they did not properly fulfil their duties as trustees of two trusts of which he is a beneficiary.

Sean Hotung, a son of billionaire philanthropist Eric Hotung, filed the lawsuit in the High Court earlier this week against the trustees: Winnie Ho Yuen-ki, sister of gambling magnate Stanley Ho; a cousin of his father and Hillhead Limited.

Winnie Ho is trustee of shares in Hotung Enterprises Limited in what has been called the Ho Trust. Hillhead, a company that is part of Ernst & Young, is trustee of shares in Hotung Investment (China) Limited in the Hillhead Trust. Sean Hotung is a beneficiary of both trusts, the writ says.

Sean Hotung is seeking from Winnie Ho an account of, or compensation for, the losses in the Ho Trust or to reconstitute those losses, and for Hillhead Limited to do the same for the Hillhead Trust, according to the filing.

Sean Hotung is also suing Ernst & Young and others, including a cousin, Ronald Ho Yau-hoo, formerly a partner at Ernst & Young.

Sean Hotung claims that Winnie Ho and Hillhead Limited breached their fiduciary duties as trustees and assisted or failed to prevent the 'wholesale mismanagement, and diversion and stripping of funds and assets' from Hotung Enterprises and Hotung Investment from 1980 to 2008.

In connection with Hotung Investment, the filing says the acts related to the diversion of funds from the company to various false accounts, the diversion and misappropriation of hundreds of gold coins, and the sale of land lots in Sheung Shui and properties in Johnston Road at a gross undervalue, as well as of HK$117 million in dividends.