Rinehart Daughter Bianca Loses Bid to Manage Family Trust
By Joe Schneider – Oct 10, 2013 2:52 AM ET
An Australian judge rejected a request from Bianca Rinehart, daughter of the richest woman in the Asia-Pacific region, to be considered as a candidate to run a $4 billion family trust.
New South Wales Supreme Court Justice Paul Brereton today said Ginia Rinehart, who opposes her sister’s nomination, would need time to investigate Bianca’s suitability. That would require an adjournment of the trial that began in Sydney Oct. 8, Brereton said in “reluctantly” refusing the request.
Ginia, left, at 27 the youngest sibling, has supported her mother Gina, right, and sought to have an independent trustee named, determined by either ANZ Trustees, a unit of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., or National Australia Trustees, a unit of National Australia Bank Ltd. Photographer: Ron D’Raine/Bloomberg
Bianca, Hope Rinehart Welker and John Hancock sued their mother Gina Rinehart, 59, in September 2011. They accused her of misconduct when she sought to delay the trust’s vesting date from that month to 2068. Brereton said today he’ll primarily have to decide whether it’s legally permissible and commercially prudent to appoint a trustee who isn’t a member of the Rinehart family.
The trust holds almost a quarter of Hancock Prospecting Pty, an iron ore and coal company Gina Rinehart inherited from her father Lang Hancock and built into an $18.2 billion fortune, making her the 40th richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
She amended the rules governing the trust in 2006 to prohibit non-family members from owning the stock or managing the holdings. John Hancock, 37, and Bianca, 36, also sought a declaration from the court that the changes Gina Rinehart made to the rules weren’t valid, which would let her children sell shares to outsiders or borrow against them.
Gina Rinehart agreed to step down from managing the trust last week to end the lawsuit, which her lawyer described as taking up too much of her time.
Ginia, at 27 the youngest sibling, has supported her mother and sought to have an independent trustee named, determined by either ANZ Trustees, a unit of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., or National Australia Trustees, a unit of National Australia Bank Ltd.
John Hancock, who had nominated himself as a replacement for his mother, said yesterday he agreed to back Bianca instead and today declined to comment on whether he would put his name back up as a replacement trustee. He had also proposed Bruce Carter, an Adelaide businessman, as a candidate.
Hope, 28, withdrew from the lawsuit in March.
The case is John Langley Hancock v. Gina Hope Rinehart. 2011/285907, New South Wales Supreme Court (Sydney).
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