Great Eagle matriarch accuses HSBC of ‘threatening’ her, in latest twist to Lo family feud

97-year old wife of the late company founder makes her grievances against the bank public, before court case begins next month

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 June, 2017, 7:20pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 June, 2017, 11:29pm

Lo To Lee-kwan, the 97-year old matriarch of Hong Kong property giant Great Eagle Holdings, has accused HSBC of “threatening” to take her to court, before she herself decided to sue the bank as a trustee of her family business, according to a statement released on Wednesday afternoon.

It is the first time the wife of the company’s late founder Lo Ying-shek has revealed why she wants to dismiss the bank as the family’s trustee, in what has become an ongoing feud which has split her family into two rival factions.

“I am grateful towards those children of mine who spent time and effort handling this matter,” the statement read. “I hope this public statement will end the malicious slandering towards these few children who are helping me.”

Lo said that the trust – which manages 42.71 per cent of the HK$60 billion firm – was created by she and her late husband 30 years ago, and had been “running smoothly for many years”.

But starting from last year, she said the “trustee suddenly failed to follow or carry out any reasonable requests that I raised”.

“In the past year, HSBC has even made plans that were against my will or those of my late husband, and threatened to bring the case to court, to enforce them. This left me with no other choice but to take legal actions against HSBC,” the statement read.

The mother of nine filed a case in the High Court in December to dismiss HSBC International Trustee as the family trust’s manager.

The court case is due to be heard on July 25. HSBC had not responded to SCMP’s enquiries, by 6pm on Wednesday.

Lo’s remarks come after she released an open letter late month, accusing her third son, Great Eagle’s chairman Lo Ka-shui, of being unfilial to his parents, and unfair to his siblings.

Her decision has been supported by three of her six sons: youngest son Lo Kai-shui, who is deputy manager director of Great Eagle, and his two eldest brothers.

Her third son Lo Ka-shui, the chairman, is backed by her fourth and fifth sons in supporting HSBC’s continuing role as trustee. Her three daughters have been largely silent.

The case has drawn wide media attention since early May, when the Lo brothers who were not supportive of the court case, accused the other three of having evicting their mother from the residence on The Peak, which she reportedly shared with her third and fifth sons.

The chairman Lo Ka-shui and his fourth brother said last month they have been banned from contacting or seeing their mother.