Stanley Ho Family Bicker After Late Casino Mogul Didn’t Leave Will

Posted on: December 2, 2021, 11:49h. 

Last updated on: December 2, 2021, 01:00h.

Stanley Ho’s famously schismatic family can’t agree over the value of the late Macau casino mogul’s multibillion-dollar estate, nor even on a third party to administer it, The South China Morning Post reports.

Pansy Ho
Pansy Ho, pictured in a photoshoot for Hong Kong Tatler in 2018. The high society magazine described her as “Hong Kong’s richest woman.” (Image: Hong Kong Tatler)

Now, a court in Hong Kong has been tasked with appointing an administrator, who will calculate the value of the patriarch’s assets and how they should be divvied up.

Ho held the gambling monopoly in Macau for 40 years. That was until the former Portuguese colony liberalized its casino market in 2002, three years after it seceded to China.

Bumpy Succession

Ho’s sprawling casino and shipping empire dominated Macau’s economy for decades, making him one of the richest men in Asia at the time.

His holding company, SJM, still owns or operates some 20 casinos via casino company STDM. These include the Gran Lisboa, which dominates the Macau skyline.

Ho died in May last year at the age of 98. But if he was planning a smooth transition of power, he went a funny way about it. With 17 children from four concurrent “wives,” or “consorts,” it was never going to be plain sailing.

And meanwhile, it seems he didn’t make a will.

Ho’s fifth child, Pansy Ho, has said the estate is worth at least HK$1.72 billion (US$220.6 million),” according to court filings seen by The Post. That’s markedly different from the HK$11 billion ($US 1.41 billion) put forward by Angela Ho, his eldest surviving child.

Upon Ho’s retirement in 2018, the estate was valued at $HK50 billion (US$6.42 billion).

Courtroom Dramas

Lawyers for Pansy Ho, 59, claimed in court that the majority of the family is backing KPMG as an administrator. They said it had been difficult for their client to get most of the family on board, and she had “tried very hard” to engage with her half-sister, Angela.

But, lawyers said, Pansy found out in the media that Angela had initiated proceedings in the High Court to nominate a different administrator, Alvarez & Marsal, in September last year.

Lawyers for Angela, 68, the second daughter of Ho’s first wife, Clementina Leitao, claimed their client had been “frozen out” of proceedings.

Sisters Seize Control

Pansy was rumored to be her father’s favored successor. In 2018, she replaced him as chairperson of Shun Tak Holdings, a real estate developer and hospitality business that also operates ferries between Hong Kong and Macau. She is also the chairperson of MGM Macau.

Her full sister, Daisy Ho, became chairperson of SJM at the same time.

A year before their father’s death, the two sisters wrestled control of the casino business from Ho’s fourth “wife,” Angela Leong, via a shareholder alliance.