Nina estate fight over trust fees

Local | Sophie Hui 12 Jul 2019

Chinachem Charitable Foundation has filed a writ with the High Court, demanding to change the accountancy firm managing the trust of late tycoon Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum.

The defendants are Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah, and the joint administrators of Wang's estate, who are Christopher Chan Wai-tong, Wong Tak-wai and Jong Yat-kit.

The foundation filed the writ on Wednesday, demanding the court remove the PricewaterhouseCoopers trio as the joint administrators of the estate of Wang and her husband, Wang Teh-huei based on the Probate and Administration Ordinance.

The foundation is also demanding the court appoint Albert Ng Kong-ping, Agnes Chan Sui-kuen, Stephen Liu Yiu-keung and Koo Chi-sum, all of Ernst & Young Transactions, as the joint administrators of the estate until there is a full grant of letters of administration of the estate with the will by the court or until further orders.

The plaintiff said Ernst & Young Transactions will charge "appropriate and reasonable remuneration."

The accounting firm proposed charging by the hours worked or HK$3.5 million per month, whichever is lower.

The hearing will be held on September 4.

In May, Wang's younger brother Kung Yan-sum, who chairs the charitable foundation, held a press conference in which he criticized Pricewaterhouse Coopers for managing the fund poorly.

He said the firm charged a hefty administration fee of HK$60 million a year.

Kung also claimed a secret deal led to the accounting firm paying more than HK$17 million in compensation to Chinachem Group's former chief executive Sunny Yeung Kwong, even though he did not finish his contract and left in October 2016.

He said Yeung should not have received the amount.

But the joint administrators of Chinachem Group denied his allegations, and said Pricewaterhouse Coopers acted in the best interests of Wang's estate to protect its assets and reported regularly to the court and the Department of Justice.

They said all fees incurred were approved by the charitable foundation and the department before payment.

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