Quick ruling urged on Fok brother's executor role

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 April, 2012, 12:00am

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The estate of late tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung had been in a 'deadlock' for five years and urgent action was needed to resolve the situation, a lawyer for one of the executors of his will told the High Court yesterday.

Fok's son Benjamin Fok Chun-yue is seeking to dislodge his brother, businessman and Silver Bauhinia Star winner Ian Fok Chun-wan, as an executor, accusing him of taking assets from the multibillion-dollar estate without the knowledge or consent of the other executors and failing to provide the information and authorisations needed for the proper administration of the estate.

Benjamin Fok is an executor of the estate, along with Ian Fok and Henry Fok's sister, Fok Mo-kan.

He is seeking a summary judgment - a ruling without a full trial - on the issue of whether Ian Fok should be removed. His lawyers and those of other family members and relatives named in the case appeared for a hearing yesterday to determine a timetable for filing affidavits and the length of time needed for a hearing on whether the court should grant the summary judgment.

Henry Fok, who was always one step ahead in investing on the mainland and rose to be a vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, died from cancer aged 83 in 2006. He was married three times and had 13 children.

Abraham Chan, for Benjamin Fok, said the estate 'has been in a deadlock position for five years'. 'The matter must be dealt with expeditiously,' he said.

Ian Fok opposes the move.

Patrick Fung SC, representing Ian Fok, said whatever difficulties there had been in managing the estate had been 'caused mainly by the non-co-operation' of Benjamin Fok. 'He refuses to attend meetings of executors called by my client,' Fung said.

Ian Fok and some other members of the extended family sought more time than Benjamin Fok thought was necessary to file papers to the court.

Fung noted a lot of material was involved. He said the estate was substantial and involved assets and issues dating back over half a century.

Master Katina Levy Law Suet-mui gave the parties named as defendants six weeks to file the papers.

Earlier this month, Benjamin Fok took legal action against another brother, Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, who represents the sports, performing arts, culture and publications sector in the Legislative Council. He claimed Timothy Fok was holding without permision a book in which their late father recorded his assets.

Forbes magazine ranked Henry Fok the 181st wealthiest person in the world, with an estimated wealth of US$3.7 billion, at the time of his death in 2006. It ranked his descendants collectively in ninth place in a list of Hong Kong's 40 richest in 2008, with US$4.5 billion.