Formosa Plastics Founder’s Son Wong Sues Seeking $4 Billion

Formosa Plastics’ Wang’s Estate Disputed in Hong Kong Suit
Zhangzhou Houshi Power Station, one of the assets Winston Wong, son of Formosa Plastics Group's late founder Wang Yung-ching, says belonged to his father, stands in Xiamen, Fujian province, China. Source: S.H. Leung & Co. via Bloomberg

Winston Wong, son of Formosa Plastics Group’s late founder Wang Yung-ching, sued in Hong Kong to recover more than $4 billion in assets for the estate of his father, once Taiwan’s richest man.

Defendants named in the suit include three of Wang’s half-sisters - Susan, Sandy and Diana Wang - as well as former employees of Formosa Plastics - Hung Wen Hsiung and Jao Chien Fang, “who were entrusted to manage YC Wang’s personal finances,” according to a statement issued by Wong yesterday.

The suit alleges that the defendants used a Hong Kong-registered company called Hua Yang Investment (H.K.) Ltd. to “wrongly siphon off” assets, including an interest in a coal power plant and a hotel in mainland China, from Wang’s estate. Wang’s Taiwan assets were valued at $1.7 billion, Wong said in the statement.

An independent global investigation has identified total assets worth nearly $18 billion, according to the complaint filed yesterday in Hong Kong’s Court of First Instance.

A call to the office of Susan Wang, Formosa Plastics Group executive board vice chairman, was directed to Hsueh Ching-hsien, a company spokesman. Hsueh said the matter is “personal” in nature and declined to comment. He didn’t have contact information for Hung or Jao.

From Rice to Semiconductors

Wang died in the U.S. in 2008 at the age of 91. He started selling rice in 1932 as his first business before founding Formosa Plastics Corp., a maker of poly vinyl chloride or PVC, in 1954. The company expanded into Formosa Plastics Group, Taiwan’s biggest diversified industrial company.

With factories in China, Indonesia, Taiwan, the U.S. and Vietnam, Formosa’s products range from semiconductors, textiles, to detergents.

Wang, who also founded Taiwan’s Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, naming it after his own father, married Wang Yueh-lan in 1935. He had no children by his legal wife and nine children by two other women, the late Yang Chiao Wang and Lee Pao Chu. Winston Wong is Yang’s eldest son.

During his lifetime, Wang “maintained a veil of secrecy” by holding assets via trusts or overseas entities run by nominees such as Hung and Jao to conceal shareholdings in Taiwan, mainland China and the U.S., according to the complaint.

Offshore Trusts

Since 2001, Hung had inappropriately set up offshore trust entities under his control and the control of Susan and Sandy, Wang’s daughters by Lee, Wong said in his filing.

Wong accuses Hung and Jao of breach of trust and fiduciary duty in relation to the Hong Kong entities and his siblings of acting dishonestly.

Calls to the office of Diana Wang weren’t answered. Sandy Wang didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment left with her assistant.

Wong previously sued in New Jersey to be appointed as administrator of the estate of his father, who died without a will. His fortune has also been the subject of a lawsuit in Taiwan.

The case is Dr. Wong, Wen-Young also known as Winston Wong and Wang Ruey Hwa Susan and others, HCA2154/2011 in Hong Kong’s Court of First Instance.

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