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February 3, 2010

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Feng shui no help in bid for billionairess' will

A FENG shui adviser who had an affair with Asia's richest businesswoman before she died lost his bid for her multibillion-dollar estate yesterday when a Hong Kong court deemed his will a forgery.

The ruling marked another episode in the colorful saga of Nina Wang, nicknamed in Hong Kong as "Little Sweetie" for her girlish outfits and pigtail hairdo.

Wang died of cancer in April 2007 at age 69. The lawsuit centered on two competing wills - the 2006 will held by feng shui master Tony Chan Chun-chuen and a 2002 will that left Wang's fortune to Chinachem Charitable Foundation Ltd, a charity set up by the late businesswoman and her husband.

High Court Judge Lam Man-hon yesterday ruled that Chan's will was a forgery and upheld the 2002 will, according to a summary of his judgment issued by Hong Kong judicial officials.

While Lam accepted that Wang and Chan - more than 20 years her junior - had an intimate relationship, he wrote that the affair was a secret Wang wanted to bury and that when it came to her estate, "she placed a higher regard on her charitable objectives than the defendant."

"The court does not believe that their relationship was such that Nina was prepared to give him her entire estate irrespective of her other commitments and responsibilities. Giving him gifts or even large sums of money during Nina's lifetime when he made her happy is one thing. Making him her sole heir in respect of her entire estate is quite different," according to the document.

The court ruled that the purported Wang signature on the 2006 will is a "highly skilled simulation."

One of Chan's lawyers, Jonathan Midgley, said his client was "extremely disappointed" and plans to appeal.

"We have won now. There is justice in this world," Wang's brother, Kung Yan-sum, told reporters.

Hong Kong police didn't immediately return an Associated Press reporter's call asking if it will investigate and prosecute Chan for forgery. Forgery carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison in Hong Kong.

Chan captivated public attention during the trial with his lawyer's claims that he and Wang were so intimate that she left him a pair of her pigtails. Chan himself testified they were having an affair when his wife was pregnant with their eldest son, telling the court that Wang called him her "husband."

Adding to the mystery surrounding Chan was his spotty resume that included bartender, waiter, machinery salesman, market researcher and computer parts exporter.

Kung said yesterday that Wang's estate is worth "at least several tens of billions" of Hong Kong dollars.


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