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Rinehart hits at motive for writ
Rinehart hits at motive for writ

Gina Rinehart has called on her three estranged children to drop their multibillion-dollar action against her, saying her sudden decision to vest the family trust gave them what they wanted.

A statement from her lawyer yesterday said that if Hope Welker, Bianca Rinehart and John Hancock did not end the legal battle now, their motives should be questioned.

There was no need to carry on the fight, it said, unless the three wanted to "cause more problems for Mrs Rinehart or Hancock Prospecting for other agendas".

But the statement failed to budge her three eldest children, who said the dispute had always been over the trust's management, not the shares in it.

They would gladly drop the action if their mother stepped down as trustee and gave them access to the trust's records, which they had sought for years.

Mr Hancock said: "The fundamental questions are why not just step down as trustee and why not supply us with the financial records? They are simple questions and stepping down provides the simple solution."

Mrs Rinehart released her grip last week on the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust, which holds almost a quarter of the shares in Hancock Prospecting.

She reversed her shock decision last year to extend her control over it by 56 years, which was the catalyst for the feud.

Her children now have access to the shares their grandfather, mining magnate Lang Hancock, put into the trust for them.

The shares are worth more than $4 billion but the children cannot get any of it without Mrs Rinehart's involvement.

A clause in the company's constitution says the shares can be sold only to lineal descendants of Mr Hancock, meaning the children must sell to Mrs Rinehart or each other and the children are not in a position to buy them.

They can also only get Hancock Prospecting dividends if the company, which Mrs Rinehart controls, issues them.

The three are fighting a separate battle over dividends, claiming a deed signed between 2006 and 2007 guaranteed a regular, non-discretionary cashflow from dividends, which was supposed to start in January.

Yesterday's statement said Mrs Rinehart had increased the trust's value 40,000 per cent. "Instead of showing appreciation, the plaintiffs, who either do not work or do not work full-time, have chosen to allow disparaging comments to be made for their unfortunate agendas," it says.

'Why not just step down as trustee and supply us with the financial records?' " *John Hancock *