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Friday July 5, 2013 MYT 2:00:02 PM
Friday July 5, 2013 MYT 2:01:01 PM
by grace li AND brian yap
HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Hong Kong judge on Friday jailed for 12 years a former lover of late billionaire tycoon Nina Wang, for forging a will naming him the sole beneficiary of her estate, one of Asia's largest fortunes, estimated at $4 billion (2.6 billion pounds).
Justice Andrew Macrae handed down the sentence to Peter Chan, formerly known as Tony Chan, in the city's High Court a day after a jury found him guilty on charges of forgery and using a forged document. Chan had pleaded not guilty to a number of charges.
Sentencing Chan to 12 years on each charge, to be served concurrently, Macrae highlighted the "shameless and unparallelled greed" at the heart of a "well-executed and well-planned" crime.
"Never once ... have you shown the slightest remorse for your conduct," the judge said.
Chan was flanked by three guards in the dock and calmly stared at his wife in the public gallery as the sentence was announced. His wife had sobbed throughout the hearing, covering her mouth with a small handkerchief.
The proceedings had transfixed Hong Kong with revelations of adultery and bizarre rituals associated with "feng shui", a Chinese philosophy meaning "wind-water", aimed at creating harmonious surroundings and harnessing natural energies.
The 53-year-old father of three also described in court how he had enjoyed a passionate sexual relationship with the billionaire heiress, who was more than 20 years his senior.
Known as "Little Sweetie" after a favourite Japanese manga cartoon character, Wang was one of Asia's wealthiest women, with a business empire including the Chinachem Group, Hong Kong's largest private property developer. She died of cancer in 2007, aged 69.
The petite Wang, known for her braided pig-tails, mini-skirts and beloved pet dogs that she took to boardroom meetings, inherited most of her wealth from her husband, Teddy, who was kidnapped in 1990 and never seen alive again, despite the payment of a $33-million ransom.
The sentence is the latest setback for Chan, who was ordered in March to pay HK$340 million ($43.8 million) in tax arrears, and has been hit by the long, costly legal battle for Wang's estate that he lost in 2011.
Chan, a former bartender and feng shui master, who once lived in a cramped public housing flat, changed his name from Tony after that ruling and converted to Christianity this year.
In 2011, the High Court upheld a previous judgement that a 2006 will leaving Wang's entire estate to her former lover and feng shui master was a forgery. Instead, it upheld an earlier will bequeathing her fortune to a charitable foundation run by Wang's family.
(Editing by James Pomfret and Clarence Fernandez)
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