Woman wants HK$5.5b from ex
A woman claiming HK$5.5 billion from her divorced husband secretly signed a deed to cancel a nuptial agreement, defeating the wish of the man's father to protect his tremendous wealth, a court heard yesterday.
The revelation came on the fourth day of a proceeding initiated by a female lawyer identified only by her initials TCWF. She is seeking 55 per cent of the assets of her divorced husband, LKKS, with whom she has a three-year-old daughter. The man is the son of a wealthy Hong Kong businessman, known as STL, who has investments all over the world.
The woman is asking the court to depart from usual practice and grant her more than half her ex-husband's assets to maintain the living standards she and her daughter enjoyed before the marriage broke down. Also in dispute is whether the son transferred some of his assets to his father to reduce his wealth and thus reduce the property he has to give her.
The Court of First Instance heard that the two started dating in 1996 and started living together two years later. They became engaged in April 1999 and married in 2000. They divorced in 2007.
The court heard that the pair signed a nuptial agreement after their marriage to comply with a demand of the man's father to prevent 'another man's daughter' claiming his wealth. That same day, they signed a cancellation deed behind the father's back, nullifying the agreement. The father only came to know of the cancellation deed after the marriage ended.
Under questioning from Martin Pointer QC, representing the ex-husband, the woman agreed that her former father-in-law was keen that the two sign the nuptial agreement, although it was not legally binding.
The woman told the court she agreed to sign it because her then-husband promised it would be cancelled. She said her then-husband told her the signing was a 'symbolic gesture' to please his father.
She told the court that when she signed the nuptial agreement, she did not scrutinise its terms and only checked that the titles were correct.
The woman denied that cancelling the agreement was her idea and brushed aside Pointer's suggestion that the signing of the cancellation deed was 'deceptive' to her then-father-in-law.
Pointer suggested the father-in-law wanted the pair to have a child. Reading from a statement to the court by the son, Pointer said the son did not want a child because he wanted his father to elect him as the successor of the family assets, thinking there would be less conflict of interest if he had no offspring. The son eventually succumbed to pressure by his father, the woman and her mother, and agreed to have a child.
This contradicted evidence given by the woman on Thursday that her ex-husband was open to having a child and, as a result, she did not practise birth control. Earlier, the court heard that the man had asked her to terminate the pregnancy soon after she discovered she was pregnant. She said he had told her the baby would not fit in with their lives.
The hearing continues on Monday.