Family foundation can't touch Nina Wang fortune, says top court

May 19, 2015 11:22
Kung Yan-sum says the ruling by the Court of Final Appeal will not affect the foundation's charitable work. Photo: HKEJ

Hong Kong's highest court has ruled that a charitable foundation established by the late billionaire Nina Wang is not the beneficiary of her HK$83 billion (US$10.71 billion) fortune.

A five-judge panel on the Court of Final Appeal said Chinachem Charitable Foundation is a trustee of Wang's estate and must spend the money according to her wishes, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Monday.

Wang was chairman of Chinachem Group and Asia's richest woman at the time of her death in 2007.

The court barred the family foundation from receiving any part of the estate as an "absolute gift" but allowed it to exercise trusteeship on the basis of her will, the report said, citing the 47-page ruling.    

Among Wang's last wishes is the creation of a Chinese equivalent of the Nobel Prize, according to her 2002 will.

The court ordered the foundation to fulfill this wish and provide for its logistical needs. It instructed the secretary for justice to get involved.

The will calls for the creation of the prize under the auspices of the United Nations secretary general, the Chinese premier and the Hong Kong chief executive   

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen said he will study the ruling and take steps accordingly.

Kung Yan-sum, younger, brother of Nina Wang and chairman of Chinachem Group, said the court's decision will not affect the work of Chinachem Charitable Foundation.

He said the foundation will continue to support charitable activities. 

Translation by Vey Wong

[Chinese version中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal