The billion dollar Hope Margaret Hancock Trust was established by Lang Hancock for the benefit of his grandchildren John Hancock Rinehart and Bianca Hope Rhinehart, with their mother Gina Rinehart assigned as trustee. This family trust controls Australian jobs and significantly influences its local business climate. View article from The Sydney Morning Herald: Email Trail to Seize Hancock Trust
As new allegations arise that Gina Rinehart changed the constitution of the family company, Hancock Prospecting Pty Limited, in ways that further prejudice her descendants’ rights, Australian barristers, solicitors and wealthy trustees are on notice about the need to stand up to strong, wealthy client personalities, even at the expense of losing their business and revenue stream. They are seeing that aggressive action by one generation can prejudice the rights of an entire community.
The business capacity of John Hancock and Bianca Hope Rinehart to ensure reliable returns and support expert management is unproven. Their litigation capacity as aggrieved beneficiaries is unquestioned. They have alleged responsibilities to protect rights that are violated and to honor the intent of their deceased grandfather Lang Hancock in his 25 year old trust. Whether he intended they go to these lengths is unknown. He would certainly intend that they be responsible business owners.
Allegations of deceitfulness are serious against trustees. In the absence of different trust terms, trustees are held to the highest prudent man standard. They are obligated to protect the rights of all beneficiaries and changes must occur with court approval and, usually, the consent of beneficiaries. Gina Rinehart may be her own worst enemy. Family members always know each other’s weaknesses, and these will be on full display if the case goes to trial. More than one surprise and hurtful revelation will surface.
Let’s hope that, as this family invests itself in self-immolation before a watchful nation and world, it also invests itself in its obligations to be excellent owners and stewards of resources it had no hand in creating. Rinehart-observing barristers and solicitors are already taking note of consequences of serving strong-willed children who may have been less astute than their parents. Too often in families such as the Rineharts, mental and moral weakness set in for multiple generations. Large amounts of money often trick the mind into believing there is no day of reckoning and rules don’t apply. Gina Rinehart may or may not be substantively prudent in her actions to protect a business and unprepared children. Her failure to build consensus in her family before taking action is likely to have long term consequences for many.
Here are several recent news articles about Gina Rinehart’s court battle with her children:
Mrs Rinehart was hoping to have the dispute referred to private arbitration but Justice Patricia Bergin rejected the application on Wednesday and instead suggested the matter should go to mediation before a long-awaited trial.
Read more: Gina Rinehart fails to get dispute out of court (opens in new window)
Fresh claims made by two of Ms Rinehart’s children in relation to her conduct as a trustee in 2006 have shed doubt on whether the matter can proceed to trial.
Read more: Rinehart family trust fund battle may be headed to arbitration (opens in new window)
The son of Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart has pledged he “won’t give up” on his battle for control of the family fortune because it honours his grandfather’s dying wishes, a report said Saturday.
John Hancock, Rinehart’s only son and the eldest of her four children, is embroiled in a messy court case against his mother to have her removed as trustee of a multi-billion dollar trust.
Read more: Gina Rinehart’s son battles to honor grandfather’s dying wishes (opens in new window)
Mr Hancock has told BusinessDay he ”won’t give up” in his spat with his mother to remove her as trustee of the multibillion-dollar mining fortune.
Read more: John Hancock, fights mother Gina Rinehart for control of the family fortune (opens in new window)