Tycoon admits deal over fortune

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 October, 2011, 12:00am


A real estate tycoon fighting a HK$5.5 billion claim by his ex-wife admitted yesterday he had conspired with his father to stop his ex-wife getting her hands on the money.

The son, identified only by his initials LKKS, said he had to do a deal with his father - referred to in court as STL - because he was the only one who had looked after him and without him he would be on the street.

He said the deal involved his 'giving in' to his father's demand to transfer his business in Japan back to his father.

The son was giving evidence in the Court of First Instance against his ex-wife's claim for 55 per cent of his assets. She has claimed her former husband channelled funds to his father so he would not have to share them with her and their daughter.

He said he did so because of independent advice that his father had a 'legitimate right'. 'My father is the only one looking after me. If I pick a fight with him, I would immediately be on the street. I have no other choice, so to speak.'

Charles Howard QC, for the woman, said the father had earlier initiated a lawsuit against his former daughter-in-law alleging fraud. The case arose from the couple's signing of a cancellation deed to nullify a post-nuptial agreement the father demanded they enter into in order to protect his assets from being claimed by a 'another man's daughter'. The father lost the case in England and mounted another legal action against the woman in Hong Kong.

The three settled the case in February, with the father and the son admitting liability for 'conspiracy to injure,' a counterclaim made by the wife.

The ex-husband agreed he had a financial obligation to his daughter but said he would take no 'personal role' in her life. He was willing to pay for her education, including study at an exclusive British boarding school and two university degrees.

The court earlier heard that after the son graduated from university, the father gave him 3.5 billion yen (HK$350 million) as a start-up fund for his real estate business in Japan. Under an agreement between the two, the father could exercise a right to acquire shares of the company as well as its profits at a nominal price. The father exercised the right in 2009.

Howard said that under the succession plan, the son would get all the businesses in the UK and Japan.

This suggested the Japanese business was the ex-husband's and the woman should have a share, he said.

Howard suggested that even after a transfer of his Japanese business to his father, the man continued to live an extravagant 'billionaire lifestyle'.

The son denied he had chartered yachts every summer for the past three years for his own leisure. He said they were for hosting 'corporate parties'.

Howard said the presence of 10 South American women on one boat in July this year showed the cruises were simply for the son's pleasure.

The hearing continues on Monday.