Economy

Gina Rinehart hits back at children over trust issues

Engel Schmidl /

Australia’s richest person, mining billionaire Gina Rinehart, has requested her estranged children cease all legal action against her, saying that their motives will be called into question if they do not stop.

The move comes after Rinehart’s children attempted to remove her as the head of their family’s trust, in a legal battle that has dominated headlines for months.

In a media statement sent through her lawyer Paul McCann, Rinehart said her children, “who either do not work, or do not work full-time”, should stop any action against her.

This comes just one day after Rinehart pulled back the vesting date of the family trust to last week. That trust has been replaced with a new trust, of which Gina Rinehart is the trustee.

The complicated move means Rinehart controls whether her children receive dividends, while they could also face massive tax bills if they apply for shares in the family’s mining company Hancock Prospecting.

”Accordingly, you have to question any need for the litigation to continue, unless they wish to cause more problems for Mrs Rinehart or Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd for other agendas,” McCann said yesterday, according to various reports.

The statement is directed at Rinehart’s children, Hope Welker, Bianca Rinehart and John Hancock, and added that Rinehart had increased the trust’s value by 40,000%.

The letter also stated Rinehart had exercised her “unilateral power under the terms of the trust”, a move which reflected “a different and uncertain environment for wealthy trusts in Australia”.

“One would reasonably imagine most beneficiaries would be pleased with such progress, but unfortunately, now that the trust value has substantially increased, litigation was commenced,” the letter read.

The letter comes in response to a move by the three children to continue pursuing legal action against Rinehart, with the goal of having her removed as the trustee along with a request for 20 years of financial records.

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