Gina Rinehart's son-in-law was asked to quit the board of Perth mining company Mineral Resources in the month after his wife launched legal action against her mother amid fears it could be dragged into a public "bloodbath".
Ryan Welker, who is married to Mrs Rinehart's daughter, Hope, was asked to resign his $98,100-a-year position as non-executive director of Mineral Resources four weeks after the mining magnate's three estranged children launched their court action.
Mr Welker, who was Hancock Prospecting's appointment to the board, was told that his exit was necessary.
The West Australian understands that the push came within days of a letter Mr Welker wrote to Mrs Rinehart in which he declined to resign, insisting that he had no gripe against her and was playing no part in the court action by three of her four children.
Referring to his role helping his wife lodge the legal paperwork, he told Mrs Rinehart: "I have no personal claim against you. My role in the matter is akin to the witness of a purse snatching who happens to be the only person who knows to call the police.
"I will continue to support my family, including John and Bianca - even Ginia if she so chooses - to do what I believe is morally and ethically correct, even if that places you and I in personal conflict," he wrote.
Mineral Resources announced Mr Welker's exit from the company in October 2011, saying it was prompted by a move with his wife to New York and a desire to focus on other business interests.
Speculation surrounded the timing of his exit but the company said in its annual report that he resigned because he was relocating overseas.
The West Australian understands that Mr Welker did not want to resign and that he and Mineral Resources had been put under intense pressure by Mrs Rinehart's company Hancock Prospecting (HPPL).
Emails between Mr Welker and Mineral Resources (MRL) show that he was asked to quit on October 6 - a day before the company announced his resignation - because of pressure from Hancock Prospecting.
In an email to Mr Welker, the company's executive director Chris Ellison wrote: "Hope all is well in New York with you and your family. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I need to ask you to resign from the MRL Board."
He said the company was getting "serious heat from HPPL on the board position and they will soon have it all over the media, which I can't afford, and I hope you understand.
"I have enjoyed having your support as a director and friend and hope you understand.
"I just don't want MRL caught up in a bloodbath."
Sources close to Mr Welker and Mineral Resources have alleged that at one point Hancock Prospecting threatened to vote against Mr Welker at the company's annual general meeting unless he was removed.
Mr Welker's resignation from Mineral Resources, in which Hancock Prospecting had a small stake, left him without a full-time income and unable to support his wife and two children or help cover the extensive legal bills in the protracted court battle.
In his email to Mrs Rinehart, Mr Welker dismissed apparent concerns by Mrs Rinehart's staff that Hancock Prospecting had lost confidence in him as a board member of Mineral Resources.
He said there had been no evidence of misconduct in his duties as non-executive director and he enjoyed the unanimous support of the Mineral Resources board. Mr Welker told Mrs Rinehart that the fact he was living in New York would be of benefit to Mineral Resources.
The West Australian revealed on Saturday that Mrs Welker, who is believed to have separated from her husband, is pulling out of the legal action because of personal and financial difficulties.Mr Welker could not be reached yesterday and Mr Ellison declined to comment.
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