Tony Chan to mortgage house for fees

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 April, 2012, 12:00am

Self-styled fung shui master Tony Chan Chun-chuen has agreed to take steps to mortgage a property in Mid-Levels to raise the cash to pay Chinachem Charitable Foundation's legal fees in the court battle over the fortune of its late founder.

It is the first time Chan has committed to taking steps towards complying with a court order to pay the foundation's legal costs. Lawyers for both Chan and the foundation appeared yesterday in the Court of First Instance, where Mr Justice Jeremy Poon Shiu-chor approved the undertaking. Chan did not appear at the hearing.

The HK$150 million legal bill stemmed from Chan's defeat in the highly publicised lawsuit over former Chinachem chairwoman Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum's estimated HK$50 billion estate.

The Court of Final Appeal ruled in April last year that a 2006 document, which he claimed was a will by Wang leaving him her entire fortune out of love, was a forgery. The court recognised a 2002 will leaving the money to the foundation and ordered Chan to pay most of the legal costs incurred by the foundation.

Chan was also ordered to foot all the bills that Wang's estate administrators had chalked up during the estate battle. They are seeking about HK$160 million.

Recently, Chan discussed with the foundation and estate administrators arrangements in which he could raise funds from the Bowen Road house in order to settle the outstanding fees. Earlier, the administrators took out an injunction freezing HK$130 million of Chan's assets. The foundation is also seeking a freezing order to ensure Chan will have the funds to pay its fees.

That application, originally scheduled for yesterday, was adjourned to May 22 after Chan made the undertaking. The Bowen Road house is worth around HK$480 million. Chan is estimated to have assets of HK$511 million.

Wang, once Asia's richest woman, died of cancer in 2007 aged 69.

Separately, two Chinachem companies are trying to recover HK$2 billion held in a British Virgin Islands company linked to Chan, while the Inland Revenue Department is claiming HK$330 million in unpaid taxes from him.