Feng shui adviser loses billionaire's will appeal

08:20, February 15, 2011      

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Nina Wang (left), late Hong Kong billionaire, and Tony Chan, Feng Shui adviser.

The Court of Appeal in Hong Kong rejected an appeal on Monday from feng shui adviser Tony Chan Chun-chuen who had asked it to overturn a previous ruling that blocked his way to the massive fortune of the late billionaire Nina Wang.

Judge Anthony Rogers, who read out the court's judgment, said Chan had persisted in pursuing "a thoroughly dishonest case" and abused the process of the court. He said all three judges had "no hesitation in dismissing this appeal".

The court also ordered Chan to pay costs, which are likely to be around HK$200 million ($25.7 million).

The appeal followed a ruling in February 2010 that said Chan had forged a will in a bid to claim Wang's multi-billion-dollar estate. The earlier decision called for her fortune to go to the Chinachem Charitable Foundation, a charity that was founded by Wang and is now chaired by her brother, Kung Yan-sum.

Wang, whose maiden name was Kung Yu-sum and who was also known as "Little Sweetie" because of her girlish outfits and pigtail hairdo, died in 2007 aged 70.

She was once Asia's wealthiest woman and had been chairwoman of the Chinachem Group.

In appealing the earlier court decision that ruled he had forged the will, Chan made two major submissions. They were both dismissed in Monday's 47-page joint judgment.

Chan said in his appeal that the judge in the earlier case had not evaluated the evidence "by reference to the inherent probabilities and improbabilities" before making any factual findings.

The appeal court stressed in its ruling that the judge did not make such an error.

And Chan had also said in his appeal that the earlier judgment had been tainted because the judge had been morally offended by his claim that he and Wang had shared an intimate relationship.

The appeal court judges said "it would be surprising if the judge did consider it morally acceptable" but noted that such an opinion need not have colored his judgment.

The appeal started in January and was initially estimated to require 10 days of court time. In the end, it needed less than four.

Chan said through his public relations agent that he was very disappointed with the result.

He said he plans to take his claim to the Court of Final Appeal and continued to insist that the will was not forged but was "absolutely genuine".

Lawyer Alan Leong Kah-kit said the odds of the final court accepting Chan's appeal were very slim because the previous judgments had been solid.

Kung of the foundation, said he was "too happy to say anything" after the appeal was rejected.

He said the judgment was fair and told local media that Chan had lost because of greed.

Chan was arrested for forgery after the trial last year and released on HK$5-million-bail.

The bitter dispute fascinated Hong Kong residents because of its juicy revelations about Chan's claimed affair with Wang.

Chan claimed Wang and he met in 1992 while he was still married when Wang, who was 20 years older than him, sought his help in locating her husband, who had been abducted in 1990 and who has not been seen since.

With his patchy resume as a waiter, bartender, machinery salesman and market researcher, he made an unlikely match for Wang.

By Guo Jiaxue, China Daily
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