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Court documents reveal reasons behind Rinehart family feud
Court documents reveal reasons behind Rinehart family feud

Gina Rinehart has been accused of "deceptive, manipulative and disgraceful conduct" by her three estranged children in court documents that finally reveal the reasons behind the bitter family feud.

The mining billionaire - who was named this week among the world's 30 richest people - lost a six-month battle yesterday to keep the court case secret, saying she was extremely disappointed the private matter had gone public. The decision by the High Court to reject her appeal meant a suppression order covering dozens of documents, personal emails and letters between Mrs Rinehart and her four children was lifted.

They detail the pacts Mrs Rinehart asked her children to sign and the billion-dollar ramifications of the feud.

They also reveal the catalyst for the family split - a letter Mrs Rinehart sent her children in September last year telling them that she planned to delay the vesting of a multibillion-dollar trust which had been set up for them by their late grandfather Lang Hancock.

The trust - which owns almost a quarter of Hancock Prospecting with a potential value of more than $4 billion - was due to be vested three days later, on her youngest daughter Ginia's 25th birthday.

She told them that if the vesting went ahead, the children would be bankrupted by capital gains tax.

In a frantic and increasingly desperate series of emails over the next three days, her three eldest children fought her decision and demanded to see financial statements before finally taking their action to the NSW Supreme Court.

They sought to have Mrs Rinehart removed as Trustee for alleged mismanagement of the Trust and subsequently accused her of a "further course of wholly inappropriate action involving a combination of emotional, financial, psychological and legal pressure" designed to force them to withdraw their court action.

Yesterday, in a statement through her lawyer, Mrs Rinehart challenged their claims and said the three children had enjoyed "very privileged lives . . . private schooling, private tutors, private health care, expensive jewellery and (or) watches".

"Additionally, (they) have each chosen multi-million dollar homes with water views and swimming pools to enjoy," the statement says.

She said in the statement they had chosen "not to follow sound advice from family friends that if they are not happy they should go out and earn for themselves".

Her eldest son, John Hancock, who joined his sisters Bianca and Hope in the legal action against their mother in September responded by saying he would "love to have inherited projects and royalties to work with - instead I've got to rely on the skills I possess."

Referring to his sister Ginia, who is the only one to have sided with their mother and was recently photographed with a new Rolls Royce, he said: "I won't be able to replicate Ginia earning the achievement of a Rolls-Royce at 25.

"But at 36, I'm now turning my set of skills towards helping several very interesting projects achieve commercialisation.

"What does she want me to do - take up her offer of free money if we do as she says? No thanks."

Ginia released a statement attacking her siblings and saying the case was "motivated entirely by greed".

"My loving and hardworking mother has only ever wanted the best for her children," she said.

"My siblings and I were blessed with an exceptionally fortunate upbringing.

"I have no doubt that one day soon my brother and sisters will regret putting money before family.

"Unfortunately, this realisation will come too late as the damage to our family will already have been done.

"I am proud to be a part of my family's Australian legacy and most of all I am proud to be the daughter of such a strong business leader, role model and loving mother."

Mrs Rinehart had argued that if the case went public, multibillion-dollar mining and infrastructure projects would be threatened and her safety and that of her children and grandchildren would be compromised.

She also claimed the children's action violated a secret agreement they had signed to keep family disputes behind closed doors.

But a series of judges rejected the arguments and her last attempt at having the case thrown out - a bid to seek leave to appeal to the High Court - was lost yesterday.