HONG KONG, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Macau gaming magnate Stanley Ho is set to take fresh legal action against family members, his lawyer said on Tuesday, in the latest U-turn in a dynastic tussle for control over one of Asia’s largest fortunes.
Ho, the 89-year-old chairman of Macau’s biggest casino operator, SJM Holdings , has been embroiled in a battle for control of his assets with three of his four wives and 17 children, whose controversial asset transfer has effectively whittled down the bulk of Ho’s shareholdings in SJM to nothing.
For decades, Ho oversaw the biggest gambling operation in Macau, a former sleepy Portuguese colony down the Chinese coast from Hong Kong. His firm SJM still controls more than 30 percent of the gaming market in the glitzy neon hub.
Ho, who appealed for family unity in videotaped comments posted on YouTube last month before the Lunar New Year holidays, said that he was dropping the lawsuit against his family to give them a chance to return his assets amicably.
But following a lull in proceedings over the holidays, Ho’s lawyer said he would once again resume legal action against members of his second and third family, which include daughters Pansy and Daisy Ho, as they have failed to reach any agreement to reverse the asset transfer.
“We have not received any proposal from Daisy and Pansy Ho,” Ho’s lawyer, Gordon Oldham, told Reuters.
Oldham said a new court case would be filed on Wednesday against Ho’s family to recover his assets.
Pansy Ho, considered one of Asia’s leading businesswomen, also runs a major casino in Macau with U.S.-based MGM Mirage . She was accused by Ho of being a key player in the asset transfer.
SJM’s share prices have tumbled about 8 percent since the saga unfolded, wiping nearly $1 billion off its market capitalisation. (Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by James Pomfret and Yoko Nishikawa)