Nina Wang
Vincent Yu  /  AP
Nina Wang's godson, Anthony Cheung, clutches a picture of the late businesswoman after a cremation ceremony in Hong Kong on Wednesday
updated 4/20/2007 7:38:23 PM ET 2007-04-20T23:38:23

Nina Wang, Asia’s richest woman at the time of her death, left her $4 billion fortune to a master of feng shui, the Chinese belief that fortunes can be improved by timing and the layout of objects, such as furniture, according to the man’s lawyer.

The pigtailed Hong Kong businesswoman, who died last month, chose Chan Chun-chuen because he understood her personal and business philosophies, said Jonathan Midgley, a lawyer for the Haldanes firm.

The firm published a newspaper notice Friday saying Wang left her estate to Chan in a will dated Oct. 16, 2006.

Hong Kong media described Chan as a feng shui master, but Midgley said at a news conference on Friday that Chan is a 48-year-old real-estate investor who practices feng shui as a hobby. Haldanes released a photo of Wang and Chan together in the early 1990s.

Feng shui is the ancient Chinese practice of trying to achieve health, harmony and prosperity by using specific dates, numbers, building design and the placement of objects.

Charity staked first claim
It was the second claim to Wang’s fortune, estimated at $4.2 billion by Forbes magazine.

On Thursday, Hong Kong’s Next magazine published the image of a typewritten will allegedly signed by Wang and dated July 28, 2002, leaving her fortune to the Chinachem Charitable Foundation Ltd., named after her company Chinachem Group.

In the purported will, Wang says she wanted the charity to set up a Chinese version of the Nobel prizes. Spokeswoman Wendy Law at the charity’s law firm, Johnson Stokes & Master, declined comment Friday.

At a news conference, Midgley said his client “believes that he understood her (Nina Wang’s) philosophy, both her personal philosophy and her philosophy in running her businesses.”

Chan did not attend the conference.

The development echoes Wang’s court battle with her father-in-law over her kidnapped husband’s estate.

Teddy Wang, who founded the Chinachem Group pharmaceutical company, was abducted in 1990 as he left Hong Kong’s exclusive Jockey Club. The family paid a $33 million ransom but he was never returned.

Kidnappers killed ex-husband
Several of the kidnappers were caught and said that the 56-year-old Wang had been thrown into the sea from the small Chinese boat where he was held. His body was never found and he was declared dead in 1999.

In his absence, Nina Wang built Chinachem into a real-estate empire, with office towers and apartment complexes throughout Hong Kong. Her standing came under threat when Wang Din-shin, Teddy Wang’s father, challenged her claim to his late son’s fortune.

Wang Din-shin said he was the sole beneficiary of Teddy Wang’s estate based on a 1968 will.

He questioned the will Nina Wang produced, which was dated just a month before her husband disappeared and left her everything. A Hong Kong judge ruled in November 2002 that Nina Wang’s will was forged.

But in 2005, Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal reversed the ruling that gave Teddy Wang’s estate to his father. Nina Wang was also cleared of forgery charges in December 2005.

Wang was 69 when she died on April 3, reportedly after a battle with ovarian cancer. She is survived by a younger brother and two younger sisters.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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