Bianca Rinehart given go-ahead to sue her mother Gina over family trust

admin | 苏州桑拿
13 Apr 2019

Bianca Rinehart has been given the green light to sue her estranged mother Gina for alleged misconduct in managing the multibillion-dollar family trust, including allegations she “improperly spent company money on personal expenses”.
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Ms Rinehart, who replaced Mrs Rinehart as the trustee following a protracted legal battle, asked the Supreme Court for judicial advice as to whether she would be justified in taking further action against her mother for alleged underpayment of mining royalties.

The mining mogul’s eldest children will claim Mrs Rinehart’s flagship company Hancock Prospecting failed to pay them and their younger siblings dividends from certain tenements. The unpaid dividends amount to approximately $500 million, of which the trustee would receive about $120 million.

They will also allege Mrs Rinehart breached her fiduciary duties when she was trustee of the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust by failing to ensure dividends were paid by Hancock Prospecting to the trust. Further, they claim she actively took steps to deny appropriate dividend payments.

Thirdly, Ms Rinehart, who is Mrs Rinehart’s second eldest child and eldest daughter, says her mother breached her duties to Hancock Prospecting by “improperly spending company money on personal expenses”.

Mrs Rinehart’s long-time executives Ted Watroba??? and Jay Newby are alleged to have been complicit in some of the alleged breaches.

In a judgment handed down on Wednesday, Justice Nigel Rein advised Ms Rinehart that she would be “justified” in commencing proceedings against her mother and Hancock Prospecting.

In doing so, he said he was not expressing a view as to whether any of the allegations would ultimately be made out.

Justice Rein also found Ms Rinehart would be justified in defending a related Federal Court claim bought against her.

Ms Rinehart’s solicitors told the court they expect the case to cost about $2 million to run.

“Given the history of the litigation to date, and the observations and findings of [Justice Paul Brereton] in the Trustee judgment [in 2015], it is appropriate to assume that the proceedings will be vigorously defended,” Justice Rein said.

The Hope Margaret Hancock Trust was set up by the late West n mining magnate Lang Hancock for the benefit of his grandchildren and is thought to be worth about $5 billion.

Mrs Rinehart, his only daughter, was trustee from 1992 until October 2013, when she stepped down amid a bitter court case.

In the very public battle, Mrs Rinehart and her youngest daughter, Ginia, were pitted against her eldest children, John Hancock and Bianca Rinehart.

Her third child, Hope Welker, who initially launched the legal action against her mother, settled in 2013 for $45 million because of the “high degree of distress” the litigation was causing her.

In May 2015, Bianca was appointed trustee. The trust’s main asset is a 24 per cent shareholding in Hancock Prospecting. Mrs Rinehart owns the remainder.

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