Ian Fok Chun-wan, second son of late tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung, broke his silence yesterday over the lawsuit filed by his younger brother in a fight over their father's estate.
He said he was distressed over the misunderstandings caused by accusations against him by his brother Benjamin Fok Chun-yue, the third son from Henry Fok's first marriage, according to a statement released by his solicitors. The accusations were 'not consistent with the facts' and might have been caused by individuals' misunderstandings, he said.
'Ian Fok pledges to seniors, friends and members of the public who care about Henry Fok's unblemished reputation that he has been acting in accordance with Henry Fok's instruction and last wishes over the years. He has been executing his duties loyally and honestly. And he has been doing the best to maintain the family's unity and harmony,' the statement said. Ian Fok deeply regretted any damage to his integrity or disrespect to Henry Fok brought by the case, and he hoped it would be resolved soon, it said.
On Monday, Benjamin Fok filed a writ in the Court of First Instance aiming to dislodge Ian Fok from his role as executor of their father's estate. He claimed Ian Fok had pocketed HK$1.4 billion from the estate. He also sought to remove his 85-year-old aunt as co-executor. He named 14 other co-defendants, including his 11 other siblings, with Henry Fok's eldest son, lawmaker Timothy Fok Tsun-ting among them, his mother and Henry Fok's two other widows, who are all beneficiaries of the estate.
Henry Fok, a former vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and a businessman who won the trust of mainland authorities, died in 2006. He had three wives and 13 children. Worth an estimated US$3.7 billion in 2006, Forbes then ranked Fok the 181st wealthiest person in the world.
Benjamin Fok alleges Ian Fok distributed and took assets from the estate without other executors' knowledge or consent and failed to provide the information and authorisation needed for its administration.
He is seeking to recover for the estate 350 ordinary shares registered in the name of a company that is part of the late tycoon's empire, the entire shareholding in three offshore companies and assets held in three offshore accounts. He alleges that Ian Fok distributed assets of the estate to himself and 'issued threats' to co-executors and other beneficiaries. Ian Fok said he would not comment further on the case at this stage.