HK tycoon's ex-wife gets HK$1.22b in settlement

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Florence Tsang Chiu-wing

A Hong Kong heir to a property fortune has been ordered to pay his ex-wife more than HK$1.22 billion (US$157 million) in one of the city's biggest divorce settlements, Hong Kong media reported Friday.

High Court Justice John Saunders ruled yesterday that Samathur Li Kin-kan, the son of billionaire Samuel Tak Lee, pay Florence Tsang Chiu-wing HK$1.22 billion -- which represents 20 percent of the couple's assets when applying the "sharing principle.” The settlement is slightly more than half the amount demanded by Tsang.

Saunders said the couple lived a "lifestyle best described as just below that of a US-dollar billionaire", and ruled that Tsang, a 38-year-old solicitor, should be kept in the comfort to which she had become accustomed.

Tsang reacted to the decision with "cheers and a broad smile”, reports said. "I'm delighted that the proceedings have now concluded," she was quoted as saying in the courtroom.

The settlement includes a HK$250 million Hong Kong property, a London property valued at HK$30.53 million, HK$2.5 million to buy two cars, HK$5 million for a yacht and HK$4.6 million for club memberships in Hong Kong and UK. She was given HK$215 million as a "Duxbury award" - a fixed sum for life.

The court ordered the US$26 million to be paid immediately, with the balance of HK$1.02 billion to bear interest if not paid within 90 days.

Saunders also alleged that Li and his billionaire father, Samuel Tak Lee, had forged documents in a bid to protect Li's wealth from his ex-wife by transferring it to the father's name.

He ordered prosecutors to investigate the documents. He also ordered Li to pay Tsang's legal costs.

In March this year, Li was worth HK$6.42 billion, while his wife was worth HK$79 million. A separate fund of HK$26 million will be set up for their daughter, who is now three years old.

During the hearings, the court heard that Li - whose father's Prudential Enterprise owns property around the world - lived a lavish lifestyle and spent extravagantly on cars, yachts, luxury apartments and home entertainment.

The marriage broke down after Li demanded his wife have an abortion, which she refused. He then had an affair and saw his daughter only twice after she was born, according to media reports.

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