Fri, May 29, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Wang son seeks to administrate estate

SHARE THE WEALTH: As administrator of Wang Yung-ching’s estate, Winston Wong would gather assets, make distributions and help determine who the proper heirs are

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The eldest son of Wang Yung-ching (王永慶), the Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, 台塑集團) founder who died in October as Taiwan’s second-richest man, asked a New Jersey judge to appoint him as administrator of the multibillion-dollar estate.

Wang was 91 when he died without a will and his son Winston Wong (王文洋) seeks to oversee the estate, said a May 13 complaint filed in state court in Newark, New Jersey.

Wong says his father’s ailing widow deserves half of the estate because she married him in 1935 and never divorced him.

Wong leads a group of nine children that his father bore with “female companions.”

The estate includes US$1.7 billion in assets in Taiwan, US$1 billion in an account at Credit Suisse Group AG, and US$7.5 billion in several offshore trusts and a US trust, the complaint said.

Wong is “unaware of any evidence” that his father authorized creation of those trusts.

“There may have been undue influence, fraud or improper circumstances surrounding the creation and formation of the trusts,” the complaint said. “The trusts may have been formed and structured to improperly avoid the payment of certain taxes that are due and owing under Taiwan and US law.”

In a statement on Wednesday, Wong said: “It is important to determine, accurately, openly and fairly the full extent of my father’s estate. This includes the various trusts and ‘offshore’ accounts that may have been established in his name, with or without his consent, possibly to avoid taxes.”

Superior Court Judge Walter Kaprowski will hold a hearing on June 19 to determine whether Wong should be appointed as administrator. In that role, he would gather assets, determine liabilities and make distributions. He would also help determine who the proper heirs are and what US or Taiwanese law applies.

Wong, 58, convened the nine children in an “Heirs Committee” with a goal of “achieving family unity,” the complaint said.

All nine are US citizens who live in Taiwan and are over the age of 18.

The son of a poor tea farmer, Taipei-born Wang had only an elementary school education when he started selling rice in 1932 as his first business.

He founded Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑), a maker of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, in 1954. It grew into FPG, Taiwan’s biggest diversified industrial conglomerate.

With factories in China, Indonesia, Taiwan, the US and Vietnam, FPG’s products include semiconductors, textiles and detergents. Three of the biggest 10 companies on the Taiwan Stock Exchange are members of the FPG.

The group’s major subsidiaries include Taiwan’s biggest PVC maker Formosa Plastics Corp, Nan Ya Plastics Corp (南亞塑膠), the world’s largest processor of plastics for pipes and imitation leather, and Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化), the nation’s only publicly listed oil refiner.

Known as the “God of Management” in Taiwan, Wang hadn’t attended a shareholder meeting since 2002. He stepped down as chairman of the group’s major units in 2006. The parent company is run by a seven-person executive board headed by nephew William Wong (王文淵) and daughter Susan Wang (王瑞華).

Wang died of cardiopulmonary arrest on Oct. 15 at his house in Short Hills, New Jersey, two days after arriving from Taiwan.

Wang’s death certificate erroneously identified a woman who lived with him in Short Hills, Lee Pao-chu (李寶珠), as his surviving spouse, the complaint said. Wang Yueh-lan (王月蘭) was his wife, Wong said in the complaint.

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