Gina Rinehart, the Australian mining tycoon who has an estimated net worth of $17 billion, is allegedly attempting to prevent her children from inheriting their shares from the family's multibillion-dollar trust fund with what they say is a "poison pill."
Rinehart's children, John Hancock and Bianca Hope Rinehart, speaking through their attorney Christopher Withers, made the claim before the Supreme Court of New South Wales on Tuesday.
Calling it a "very serious allegation," Withers claimed Rinehart had inserted a "poison pill" in the constitution of the family's company that would effectively cut his clients out from their inheritance, the Sydney Morning Herald reported
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The allegation was made as part of a concerted effort by the children to remove their mother as trustee of the family's multibillion-dollar trust fund.
''The changes she made to the constitution of Hancock Prospecting prevent my clients from ever taking a distribution of their shares in Hancock Prospecting and prevent her from being removed as trustee,'' Withers said before the court, the Herald reported.
Claiming the change to be a breach of the trust, Withers added, "That is the reason why [Rinehart] should be removed as trustee."
Withers subsequently presented the court with documents that highlighted the "special resolution'' which amended the constitution of the family's multibillion-dollar trust fund in March 2006.
The disgruntled siblings have in the past said their mother acted ''deceitfully'' and with ''gross dishonesty" in regards to her role as trustee of the family's trust fund. The details of the amendment in question remain confidential, the Herald reported.
The trust fund was created in 1988 by Rinehart's father, Lang Hancock, who in 1952 became Australia's richest man after discovering the world's largest iron ore deposit. Hancock's grandchildren were named as beneficiaries in the trust fund.
Rinehart denies having ever attempted to cut out her children from the trust fund and is supported by her youngest daughter, Ginia.
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In addition to the allegation above, the new documents presented to the court also allege that neither John Hancock nor his sister Bianca Hope Rinehart received the nearly $400,000 in benefits that a 2011-2012 tax return claims they did.
The case is scheduled to return to court in August.
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