‘It’s my decision’: 97-year-old Lo matriarch says she pushed for lawsuit to dismiss HSBC
97-year-old widow of the late company founder says there is no truth to suggestions that she has been manipulated to support lawsuit against HSBC
Lo To Lee-kwan, the 97-year-old matriarch of Hong Kong property giant Great Eagle Holdings, said it was her own decision to file a lawsuit to dismiss HSBC as a trustee of her family business as the bank did not follow her guidance on managing the estate.
“I asked it to acquire more Great Eagle shares [as] that is good for the company. But it did not carry out the request. It said I had no right [to instruct it],” Lo said.
It is the first time the wife of the company’s late founder Lo Ying-shek spoke to the media explaining why she filed a lawsuit to dismiss the bank as the trustee in what has become a feud that has split her family into two rival factions.
The mother of nine filed a suit in the High Court in December seeking to dismiss HSBC International Trustee. The case is due to be heard on July 25. HSBC declined to comment.
On Wednesday, Lo distributed a letter written last month in which she accused HSBC of “threatening” to take her to court before she herself decided to sue to dismiss the bank as a trustee of her family business.
“My husband and I gained all the money over the years. If I do not own these assets, who owns them?” Lo said at a media briefing on Friday accompanied by her eldest son Anthony Lo Hong-sui, second-eldest son Lo Yuk-sui, youngest son Lo Kai-shui and two daughters – Gwen Lo Wai-ki and Lo Hung-suen.
“I decided to sue HSBC. But I am old so I asked my children to do it for me.”
The matriarch called for a third family meeting on Friday, but third son Lo Ka-shui, who is the chairman of Great Eagle, fourth son Vincent Lo Hong-sui, who is the chairman of Shui On Land, and fifth son Lo Ying-sui did not show up. Eldest daughter Law Wai-duen was also absent.
“[HSBC] followed the requests we raised when my husband was still alive, but it did not follow since last year,” Lo said.
“At one time, it proposed giving me HK$100 million and distributing the rest of the assets among the nine children. I did not accept [the offer],” Lo said, adding that in anger she told the bank to “eat s***!”.
A spokesman for Lo Ka-shui said the Great Eagle chairman was “happy to join family meetings but non-family members such as lawyers should not be invited to such meetings”.
The case has drawn wide media attention since early May. Lo released an open letter in late May accusing Lo Ka-shui of being unfilial to his parents and unfair to his siblings after he pushed to remove Lo Kai-shui from Great Eagle’s board.
She also revealed that Lo Ka-shui had proposed to sell the company to a third party in the 1980s but the proposal was banned following her objection.
Lo Ka-shui earlier said his mother could have been manipulated by others who wanted to dismiss HSBC. Asked by reporters if she was manipulated, Lo To Lee-kwan retorted: “I am even smarter than you.”