Tycoon 'tampered with deed to flat'
'King of shoes' Patrick Tang Kim-kwan's former mistress yesterday accused the billionaire of working with lawyers to tamper with a deed, in an attempt to reduce her rights to a Sai Kung property.
Karen Lee Chi-ting, 42, was testifying in the Court of First Instance on the fourth day of a lawsuit lodged by Tang to recover three properties in her name and proceeds from the sale of a fourth flat.
Tang, 69, who heads shoe-trading empire ATG Sourcing and has an estimated fortune of HK$2 billion, took legal action after a media expose of Lee's fling with a television actor.
In yesterday's hearing, Lee said Tang bought her the Marina Cove flat in 2003 and they decided to own it in joint tenancy - which would give her the right to gain full ownership in the event he died.
But Lee said the document she later received from a law firm was altered without her consent, in which the couple were tenants in common - which meant she would only retain her 50 per cent share of the property if he died, while the rest would go to his estate. The new document bore the signature she placed on the earlier deed, she said. After Lee complained, Tang returned the joint tenancy clause in 2004.
Tang's lawyers said Lee's claim was a serious allegation against their client and the professionals who prepared the document.
Lee testified that she talked on the phone to a clerk from the law firm and was told that the deed was changed on Tang's instructions.
'I asked why the document could be changed without informing me or getting my consent. The clerk said, 'Because you and Mr Tang are husband and wife, I thought you had a consensus',' she said.
Lee also rejected suggestions by Tang's lawyers that she had asked the tycoon to buy her a flat at Royal Peninsula, Hung Hom, for speculation, and that her sale in 2005 of a Metro Harbour View flat in West Kowloon for HK$2.1 million was made without his consent.
'I had never asked Tang for anything - not jewellery, money or properties,' Lee said. 'It was on his initiative to give them to me as gifts.'
Tang used more than HK$1 million from his company to pay the deposit for the Sai Kung flat and asked Lee to sign an IOU paper to account for the funds transfer, she said. Tang promised to give her money to pay the firm back.
Lee, Tang's mistress for seven years, also told the court that he took her and her family to look at his renovated marital home while Tang's wife was away. He also took her to view a Fei Ngo Shan flat belonging to one of his sons, to see if she would want a similar apartment in the area, but she did not like it.
The court also heard that Lee had a 'devastating' relationship with a French-Chinese person in Paris before returning to Hong Kong in 2000. This made her more worried about men cheating on her.