Macau gaming magnate Stanley Ho Hung-sun no longer ranks among the world's billionaires, having been removed from the latest Forbes global rich list in favour of his fourth wife, Angela Leong On-kei.
Ho, dubbed the 'gambling king' by local media, reigned for decades as one of Hong Kong's wealthiest people and was a long-time fixture on rich lists. His no-show on the Forbes list coincided with the debut appearance of Leong, ranked by the magazine as the world's 1,057th richest person with a net worth of US$1.1 billion as of this month.
Ho's reversal of fortune came about as the result of a series of share transfers in December - one the subject of a lawsuit and family infighting.
The 89-year-old father of 17, who left hospital this week after a two-week stay, in early December transferred a 7 per cent stake in Macau casino operator SJM Holdings to Leong, bringing her total stake to 7.62 per cent, worth HK$5.05 billion based on SJM's closing share price yesterday.
After the transfer, Ho retained a controlling stake in SJM, mainly through holding company Lanceford.
But his interest in SJM was diluted almost to nothing following a disputed deal on December 27 that reduced Ho's stake in Lanceford to 0.02 per cent and gave control of the firm to his third wife, Ina Chan Un Chan, and the five children of his second wife, Lucina Laam King-ying, who are Pansy, Daisy, Maisy, Josie and Lawrence.
Lanceford owns a controlling 31.655 per cent stake in Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau. STDM in turn has investments across several continents, including a 55.7 per cent stake in SJM, which indirectly operates 20 of Macau's 33 casinos and last year booked more gambling revenue than Las Vegas.
Ho filed a lawsuit on February 16 naming Pansy Ho Chiu-king and Daisy Ho Chiu-fung and seeking to undo the December share transfer that saw him lose control of Lanceford. It also seeks to stop Pansy and Daisy from 'exercising undue influence' to take control of or deal in shares of the hundreds of other companies in which he has a stake.