HONG KONG (Reuters) - A lawyer for the family of late tycoon Nina Wang said Monday he had proof that a will granting billions to her feng shui master was forged, heating up the bitter legal battle for one of Asia’s largest fortunes.
Wang, formerly Asia’s richest woman with an estate estimated at more than $12 billion, died in April 2007, but the existence of two conflicting wills complicated the inheritance.
Tony Chan, a married businessman and feng shui enthusiast, claims to be the sole beneficiary of Wang’s estate based on a 2006 will which was drafted as she lay dying. He has also said he was Wang’s lover.
But Wang’s family lays claim to an earlier 2002 will, and their lawyer said an expert report completed this month showed that the final will was a fake.
“We believe that we have enough evidence to put forward a positive case of forgery in respect of the 2006 will,” said Keith Ho, a lawyer for the Chinachem Charitable Foundation which represents Wang’s family.
“This is a very serious allegation. We can only put forward this allegation when we have sufficient evidence,” Ho told reporters when asked why the forgery claim was only made now and not earlier.
Ho said 20 witnesses would be called to back up its allegations, with the next hearing set for April 14.
Lawyers for Wang’s family had earlier accused Chan of duping Wang out of her fortune by promising the tycoon eternal life through his feng shui services.
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice that seeks to align natural energies to optimize good fortune and health.
Wang was once ranked the 154th richest person in the world by Forbes magazine and nicknamed “little sweetie” for her signature pigtails and love of mini-skirts.
Wang won control of her late husband’s business empire in 2005 in a court case filled with tales of adultery, kidnapping and murder.
Reporting by James Pomfret, editing by Miral Fahmy