Late tycoon's children lose HK suit over his assets

Late tycoon's children lose HK suit over his assets

SINGAPORE - Four children of the late founder of the Afro-Asia Shipping (AAS) Company here have lost a bid in a Hong Kong court to argue that he had not meant to donate so much of his assets to charity.

Tycoon Tan Kiam Toen had not named them as beneficiaries in his will registered in Hong Kong but sought to donate most of his assets to charities instead. But the siblings went to court to argue that the will did not cover all his belongings.

Last month, a Hong Kong appeals court ruled that the will included all of his assets. The ruling comes amid an ongoing High Court spat in Singapore, where the four siblings are pitted against their eldest sister and mother for a share of their father's assets.

Born in China in 1919, the late Mr Tan had started the AAS firm here in 1961 to trade in tea, rice and cement among other things, noted the Hong Kong court. When he died in 2008, he left assets believed to be worth more than $100 million, including AAS, which owns a building of the same name in Robinson Road, and shares in public-listed EnGro Corporation.

But he did place assets in other people's names. His Singapore assets included 2.5 million shares in AAS worth $56.5 million and held by his elder daughter as his nominee. There are also artworks and antiques.

The joint 2008 will which he made with his wife, Madam Ng Giok Oh, aged 93, in Hong Kong where they lived, had sought to donate most of his assets to charities in Singapore, Hong Kong and Fujian upon his wife's death.

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