Gina Rinehart in legal family feud over $4b trust
AUSTRALIA'S richest person Gina Rinehart faces the prospect of being cross examined by her children on how she has operated the family's $4 billion trust after a major setback in a marathon legal battle.
Ms Rinehart yesterday lost a court bid to overturn an order requiring her to deliver up trust documents.
Seven years after firing the first salvo in the battle for control and transparency of the trust, her children Bianca Rinehart and John Hancock won backing from the Court of Appeal for their mother to verify that she has provided all relevant records on the trust or be called into the witness box.
This comes after Bianca won a three-year fight in 2015 to replace her mother as trustee of the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust, which holds 24 per cent of the family's mega iron ore company Hancock Prospecting.
Yesterday's decision puts Bianca and John a step closer to knowing more about their mother's actions as trustee over two decades.
Mrs Rinehart was also ordered to pay Bianca and John's legal costs, estimated to be hundreds of thousands of dollars after Justice Brereton in his 2015 judgment gave her 28 days to hand over all records of the trust to Bianca as incoming trustee.
Mrs Rinehart had attempted to narrow the scope of the documents she was forced to produce, saying her roles as then trustee of the trust and chairwoman of the company were "entirely intermingled" and documents belonging to the company should not be handed over.
Justice John Basten and acting Justice Carolyn Simpson yesterday backed the original judge's ruling that "I do not accept that she is not obliged to deliver up documents held jointly by the Trust and another entity".
Mrs Rinehart must sign an affidavit confirming she has handed over all documents and electronic information related to two decades of administration of the trust.
Should the children not be satisfied they have been provided all the information they can apply to cross-examine their mother in court.