Offer to her children: Gina Rinehart. Photo: Bloomberg
Two of Gina Rinehart’s children are wary of an offer made by their mother to bring a legal battle over the multi-billion dollar family trust to an end.
“If only it were that simple,” Mrs Rinehart’s son John Hancock told BusinessDay.
The NSW Supreme Court was told today that Mrs Rinehart wrote an open letter to her son and daughter Bianca Rinehart with a deal that says "the first defendant would be willing to appoint a co-trustee" to the family trust, the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust.
John is understood to have not seen the letter as it was sent straight to the court.
Two of Mrs Rinehart’s four children are applying to remove their mother as trustee of the family trust alleging she acted "deceitfully" and with "gross dishonesty" in her dealings as trustee of the family trust.
The trust was set up in 1988 by her father, Lang Hancock, with her children as the beneficiaries.
Mrs Rinehart is supported by her youngest daughter, Ginia. Her other daughter Hope is understood to not have taken sides after withdrawing from the legal action earlier this year due to financial reasons.
Justice Patricia Bergin described Mrs Rinehart's offer as a "very big step". "This litigation has been going for years," she said.
Christopher Withers, representing Mr Hancock, told the court "it was a step" but they would need time to consider it.
Mr Hancock has been put forward as a proposed alternative trustee, along with Adelaide businessman Bruce Carter.
Issues that would need to be sorted out might include who would get the casting vote if there was a deadlock in any decisions.
The civil trial is set down for October 1.