April 6 (Bloomberg) -- Nina Wang’s former feng shui adviser and lover Tony Chan lost an initial bid to have Hong Kong’s highest court consider his claim to Wang’s $12 billion estate that includes Chinachem Group, one of Hong Kong’s biggest closely held real estate developers.
Chan’s claim that Wang had left him the fortune has been rejected twice by Hong Kong courts, which ruled his version of Wang’s will was forged.
“The intended appeal must have a modicum of merit,” Court of Appeal Judge Doreen Le Pichon wrote today on behalf of a three-judge panel in denying the feng shui master permission to appeal the case to Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal. “In the present case, there is none.”
Chan will go, as soon as possible, directly to the Court of Final Appeal to request a hearing, Kenis Liu, a spokeswoman for Chan, said after today’s verdict. Chan has 28 days to file the request, she said.
Chan, 51, was arrested on suspicion of forgery after Hong Kong’s High Court first ruled against his version of the property tycoon’s will last year.
He posted HK$5 million ($643,000) bail, as police investigate the validity of the 2006 will that makes Chan the sole beneficiary of the estate. A Wang-founded charity won its claim to the estate at the earlier hearings.
Biggest Probate Dispute
Lawyers for the estate’s administrator last year estimated it to be worth $12 billion, making the probate fight the world’s biggest.
Prosecutor Richard Turnbull said today forensic testing on the 2006 will hasn’t been completed and no charges have been laid against Chan.
Chan “has persisted in pursuing a thoroughly dishonest case,” Judge Anthony Rogers said on behalf of the three-judge panel in a Feb. 14 decision, upholding a lower court ruling that said the 2006 will was a forgery. “In so doing he has abused the process of the court,” Rogers said.
Since marrying in 1955, Nina and Teddy Wang built the Chinachem into one of Hong Kong’s biggest closely held developers. Chan claims he and Nina Wang were involved in a 15-year intimate relationship that began after Teddy was kidnapped and he was hired for his feng shui skills to help find him.
Feng shui, literally translated as “wind and water,” is a 5,000-year-old Chinese practice of arranging the physical environment to harmonize with the daily lives of people who live within it. Feng shui masters used the practice to advise emperors for the best locations of their palaces and tombs.
Chan’s legal wrangle mirrors an earlier fight Wang waged against her father-in-law after Teddy was declared legally dead in 1999. That dispute was resolved in her favor by Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal in 2005, two years before her death.
The case is between Chinachem Charitable Foundation Ltd. and Chan Chun Chuen and the Secretary for Justice, CACV62/2010 in the Hong Kong High Court of Appeal.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joe Schneider at email@example.com