The anticipated billionaire vs billionaire battle at the New South Wales Supreme Court between Gina Rinehart and Andrew Forrest did not happen on Wednesday. The reason is John Hancock, the estranged adult son of Australia's richest person, withdrew his nomination made by Mr Forrest as trustee of the $5-billion Hope Margaret Hancock Foundation to replace his mum.
Instead, Mr Hancock nominated his sister Bianca Rinehart to be the new nominee. If the court would accept Mr Hancock's nomination, then the stepbrother vs stepsister scenario would not happen if Ms Rinehart would nominate her youngest daughter Ginia to replace her as trustee.
But the battle would be a sister vs sister fight, although Richard McHugh, one of the lawyers of Ms Rinehart, objected to Bianca because she had formally withdrawn her application to be considered a trustee in April. He insisted that Bianca must not be allowed to recontest the issue now.
Mr Hancock, in a statement issued, said on Wednesday, "I made the decision last night to ask Bianca to nominate as replacement trustee. I also decided to stand down as replacement in the interest of family harmony, and support Bianca's nomination."
Instead of a replacement trustee, Ginia, through Hancock Prospecting lawyer Christopher Withers, proposed the appointment of a "genuinely independent" custodian trustee, but eventually one of the four siblings would take over the role of trustee since it is the condition of Ms Rinehart, who agreed to step down as trustee to end the two-year bitter family feud, that her replacement must be a lineal descendant and knowledgeable of the mining industry.
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