An 89-year-old casino owner has appeared on television saying he is not planning to sue family members in a disagreement about who controls his money. Stanley Ho made most of his money running casinos in Macau. Chris Hogg reports.
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Dr Ho appeared on a Hong Kong television station flanked by the third of his four wives and one of his daughters. He spoke slowly but otherwise appeared calm. He said the controversy over the transfer of his assets to other family members had saddened him. He confirmed that he'd authorised the transaction. He reaffirmed his decision to sack his lawyer, Graham Oldham. Mr Oldham had earlier in the week told the media Dr Ho had been surprised to discover the transfer, was angry about it and threatening to sue.
So will this be the end of the matter? Mr Oldham was still insisting on Wednesday, he hadn't been sacked; the legal action would still go ahead. But the ageing tycoon's television appearance would seem to have undermined his lawyer's suggestion that statements were being made on the billionaire's behalf by his family that weren't in line with his wishes.
Meanwhile shares in the ten billion dollar casino firm that provides much of the family's wealth lost 5% of their value on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday. Theories about what's behind the row have the gossip columnists in a frenzy, but investors will be hoping a power struggle within the Ho dynasty has now been avoided. The prospect of a courtroom drama wasn't good for business.
Chris Hogg, BBC News, Shanghai
Click to hear the vocabulary:
accompanied on his left and right sides (by)
approved or permitted
- to sack
fire or terminate the job of (somebody)
- the matter
the particular issue
very rich and successful business person
weakened or reduced the impact of
- in line with
matching or according to
equal units of a company's worth which are sold to make money. People who own shares receive part of a company's profits
- in a frenzy
very excited and possibly out of control
- a courtroom drama
a court case that would be seen as particularly interesting because of the people and events involved