Fri, Mar 15, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Billionaire Rinehart ‘offered daughter A$300 million to end feud’: e-mails

ONE HAPPY FAMILY:Gina Rinehart’s son demanded a ‘sorry payment’ after she sought to withhold a A$4 billion trust until 2068 to avoid paying a huge tax bill

AFP, SYDNEY

Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart offered her estranged daughter Hope A$300 million (US$306 million) in a bid to end a sordid feud over the family fortune, according to e-mails published yesterday.

The revelations come a day after media reported that her son had sought a A$15 million “sorry payment” from his mother for the way she treated him over the years.

Hope Welker, John Hancock and their sister Bianca have been embroiled in a legal battle with their mother — Australia’s richest person — over control of a family trust worth a reported A$4 billion.

Trustee Rinehart has sought to block a huge payout that was due to be made to her children in 2011 until 2068. The three took her to court in an attempt to gain access to the trust.

Welker, who pulled out of the legal battle on Tuesday, begged her younger sister Ginia — the sole sibling to remain loyal to their mother — for help to pay her bills in 2011, e-mails submitted to the New South Wales Supreme Court, which were obtained by a newspaper, revealed.

She also threatened to go to the media because she could not afford her rent and school fees, the mails showed.

“Why the hell don’t you just take the A$300 million mum has repeatedly offered you and walk away,” Ginia blasted in one vitriolic exchange printed in The Australian Financial Review.

‘REALLY DISGUSTING’

“Not that you deserve a penny, as you have never worked a day in your life, but if you cannot live with A$300 million for doing absolutely nothing, then you really are disgusting,” Ginia said.

A separate e-mail exchange between Hancock and his mother revealed how he had attempted to come to a confidential financial agreement with Rinehart before the case came to court, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Wednesday.

Hancock said he would agree to delay vesting of the trust for an unspecified annual salary.

‘SORRY PAYMENT’

He later demanded “a A$15m ‘sorry payment’ direct from GHR [Gina Hope Rinehart] for how she treated me over these last 15 years.”

The trust, set up by Rinehart’s father, the late Lang Hancock, in 1988, had his four grandchildren as beneficiaries.

Rinehart was to run the trust, which holds a 23.4 percent slice of her company, Hancock Prospecting, until the youngest grandchild turned 25 in 2011.

However, just days before, she sought to delay the payout until 2068, saying it would avoid a huge tax bill.

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