The nephew of “King of Gambling” Stanley Ho has written to the new alliance controlling his uncle’s casino empire demanding HK$2 billion (US$255 million) in unpaid dividends.
Michael Hotung, also known as Mak Shun-ming, sent the letter via his lawyer on Monday.
In the letter seen by the Post, he urged the new controlling shareholders of STDM, which refers to Shun Tak Holdings managing director Pansy Ho Chiu-king and the Henry Fok Foundation, to pay what he estimated to be worth HK$2 billion in unpaid dividends from the 6,263 STDM shares owned by his late mother Winnie Ho Yuen-ki since 2007.
The shareholding represents 7.347 per cent of STDM, the letter said.
“It is most unacceptable that shareholders of a company are being refused their rights as shareholders, including their rights to payment of their dividends that the company had issued,” the letter said.
Hotung also requested the new controlling shareholders of STDM to register him as the owner of the shares left by his mother as he is the sole heir to her will.
The demands are similar to his civil lawsuit against Stanley Ho, his aunt Nanette Ho Yuen-hung and STDM at the Hong Kong High Court in January.
This is the first demand from another shareholder of STDM since Pansy Ho and allies declared control of the Macau casino operator last week.
As Shun Tak’s managing director, Pansy Ho, the eldest of the tycoon Stanley Ho’s five children with his second wife Lucina Laam King Ying, signed an agreement with the Fok Foundation and other two companies.
The alliance holds a combined 53.012 per cent of STDM shares while they vowed to maintain STDM’s 54 per cent stake in SJM Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed casino subsidiary of STDM, according to a filing of Shun Tak on Wednesday.
The agreement will strengthen Pansy Ho and Henry Fok ’s control over STDM and SJM Holdings, while Ho herself also owns a major stake at MGM Grand Macau.
In the letter, the legal team representing Hotung quoted Shun Tak’s statement that the new controlling shareholders would uphold “the implementation of best practices on corporate governance and legal regulatory compliance across the STDM Group”.
The letter urged the controlling shareholders to respect the shareholder rights of Hotung by immediately registering him as the owner of the shares and clearing up HK$2 billion in unpaid dividends.
Neither Shun Tak nor the Henry Fok Foundation responded to requests for comment about the letter.
Winnie Ho, one of Stanley Ho's sisters, invested in and helped run STDM in the 1960s and 70s. She died aged 95 in June last year.
The relationship between the gambling king and his sister turned sour amid a series of legal disputes that began in 2000 over control of STDM.
Stanley Ho, 97, has rarely been seen in public since a fall at his home in 2009.
SJM Holdings’ shares fell 2.71 per cent to HK$7.91 on Monday, while Shun Tak rose 2.16 per cent to close at HK$2.84.