Son's secret deal with Rinehart called for $15m 'sorry' fee
Secret deal: John Hancock.
Just days before he joined his sisters in suing Gina Rinehart over the family's $4 billion trust, John Hancock offered to accept her terms in exchange for a multimillion-dollar salary and a $15 million sorry payment, court documents have revealed.
The documents show that in the days after Mrs Rinehart told her children they would not be receiving their share of the Hope Margaret Hancock trust until 2068, Mr Hancock proposes a ''confidential alternative'' in a series of emails to his mother and her trusted adviser, Jay Newby.
The revelations are made in an affidavit from one of Gina Rinehart's lawyers, Paul David McCann, tendered in court on Tuesday as Hope Rinehart Welker formally withdrew from the legal battle.
Family feud: Gina Rinehart. Photo: Bloomberg
Under Mr Hancock's proposal, he would have agreed to delay the vesting date of the trust by 10 years in exchange for an annual salary.
The emails do not disclose the size of this salary but include reference to an ''offshore component'' of ''$3 million p.a. topped up to ensure no continued favouritism''.
''If a confidential alternative is worked out between GHR [Gina Hope Rinehart] and myself, I don't have any problems with delaying the vesting for a further 10 years,'' one email says.
''This will allow the important GHR 'guidance' for the younger siblings for an extra 10 years, 10 years that I have had the 'benefit' of.''
Mr Hancock, a businessman who lives in Thailand, indicates he was hiding the proposed deal from his siblings and makes a number of disparaging remarks about them.
Days later he joined two of them, Bianca Rinehart and Hope Rinehart Welker, in a civil action seeking to have their mother removed as a trustee.
''I've made it clear I'm open to an arrangement, particularly as I've had to wait an extra 10 years than the younger girls who have always been treated better anyway,'' Mr Hancock says in an email on September 3, 2011 to Mr Newby, the chief officer of Hancock Prospecting. ''I doubt they will be capable of doing their own research on the matter …''
In an email to his mother on the same day he says: ''I doubt the other girls have the intellectual capacity to read the Income Tax Act which clearly defines that CGT is disregarded under these circumstances, unless I direct them to the applicable subsection anyway or explain it in suitable baby language for them.''
On September 4 and 5, as Mr Newby indicates Mrs Rinehart is unwilling to accept his proposal, his emails become more heated.
''In the absence of an arrangement with GHR and myself, I am willing to risk … so-called bankruptcy via the vesting of the trust and expect the share certificates the minute Gina turns 25 …'' he tells Mr Newby. ''I have sufficient funds in Thailand, untouchable, to last for many years in a level of luxury I have not found possible anywhere in the world. Why would I want to leave, unless a package is agreed on sufficient scale to be interesting for me … One day I hope to welcome you to my home.''
He seeks to add to his proposal, ''an AUD 15m 'sorry payment' direct from GHR for how she treated me over these last 15 years''.