Mystery woman makes new claim against estate of Richard Pratt

The legal battle over the $5 billion estate of late cardboard magnate Richard Pratt is set to become even messier after a second Sydney woman lodged a claim against the estate.

Sydney model Madison Ashton, aged 35, has lodged a claim against the state in the New South Wales Supreme Court.

According to a report on the Nine Network’s A Current Affair television program, Ashton is a former Penthouse Pet of the Month and is a mother of two.

The exact details of Ashton’s claim are as yet unknown. Her lawyer has refused to comment, as has the Pratt family.

However, the new claim comes just weeks after Pratt’s mistress, Shari-Lea Hitchcock, and the couple’s daughter, Paula, launched their own challenge against Pratt’s will.

This claim was originally launched in the NSW Supreme Court, but has now been transferred to the Victorian Supreme Court.

According to reports, Hancock will base here claim on the fact she was the “domestic partner” of Richard Pratt, who died in April 2009 after a long battle with illness.

Pratt and Hancock’s daughter Paula was believed to have a Sydney mansion held in trust for her and was expected to receive a large cash payment in 2016, when she turns 18. Reports earlier this year suggested Paula would also receive more than $22 million.

However, it has been reported that Hancock will claim the state she has “been left without adequate provision for her proper maintenance and support and claims such provision as the court thinks fit should be made for her out of the estate of the deceased”.

Richard Pratt was seen as having one of the most clear and well-articulated succession plans in place after his death.

Pratt’s son Anthony assumed the role of leader of the $4 billion Visy empire, which was then split between Richard Pratt’s wife Jeanne and his three oldest children.

Pratt Industries USA went to Anthony. The family investment vehicle, Thorney Holdings, went to daughter Heloise and her husband, Alex Waislitz. Visy Industrial Packaging (now known as Pact Group) was taken over by daughter Fiona and her husband, Raphael Geminder. Each business was managed by its owners in the years before Pratt’s death.

Visy’s $3 billion Australian manufacturing group, which comprises the Visy Board, Visy Paper and Visy Recycling businesses, will be owned in equal share by Jeanne and Pratt’s oldest children.

Jeanne is the executor of Richard Pratt’s will.

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