South Australia Chinese businessmen's huge inheritance disputes lead to three generations of cross-border lawsuits
A family dispute involving a $XNUMX million estate has been filed from China to the Supreme Court of South Australia.
According to The Advertiser, the South Australian Chinese businessman and financier Hongtao Liu did not make a will during his lifetime. His death triggered a lawsuit against his mother-in-law to recourse against his daughter-in-law for control of the estate.
Liu’s mother, Junying Yan, claimed that the Chinese court where she was located had agreed to give her 125 million Australian dollars of her son’s overseas assets, including a power plant and its equipment. She asked for an extension of Liu's disposal of property in Australia until her four cases in the Chinese courts were closed to save court fees.
However, Liu's wife Kong Xiangting (transliteration Xiangting Kong), 14-year-old son Daniel and 12-year-old daughter Shirley asked the court to reject the request. They claimed that the postponement of the strict lawsuit would freeze Liu's assets indefinitely, preventing them from continuing to maintain their current lifestyle.
Liu Hongtao passed away in November 2018 and was one of the directors of Australian Group Investments. He is also a director of 11 The Parade Pty Ltd, which owns the building where Parade Thai Restaurant is located.
Liu's other business interests include Super Star Australia and Young Stars agencies, a catering company, a real estate company and a financial management company.
In February 2019, Ms. Kong obtained control of her husband's property, including two luxury properties located on the Billabong River in St Peters District. One of them was designed by architect Max Pritchard and sold for A$2 million in 2011, setting a bar for housing prices in the area.
Six months later, Ms. Yan, now 76, filed a lawsuit, claiming that her son had made an "oral promise" to her, saying that he "will support her throughout his life." Yan claimed that he used to be a factory worker with low education and limited skills. He relied on his son's annual alimony of 4 Australian dollars to survive.
Judge Tim Stanley stated in the pre-trial judgment that Ms. Yan told the court that as long as the Chinese court makes a ruling in her favor, she will not pursue the assets of South Australia.
"It seems that (the two lawsuits) have handled their (Chinese) property in the same way, and Ms. Yan is entitled to this property of approximately 125 million Australian dollars." "She believes that the Chinese litigation process should be completed in early 2021." Stanley said, "Ms. Kong and her children said that the extension will seriously affect the management of the deceased's estate and freeze the assets they have always depended on." "The longer it takes to solve the problem, the longer their financial And the greater the emotional loss."
Judge Stanley said that there is neither confidence nor guarantee as to when the Chinese case will be concluded, so that the litigation in Australia will be delayed "indefinitely." He said: "If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the Chinese lawsuit, the plaintiff hopes to retain its right to file a lawsuit here." "What Ms. Yan wants is to get the cake and eat the cake."
He refused to postpone the case and ordered Ms. Yan to pay A$35 to the court to guarantee future litigation costs.