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A Hong Kong judge on Friday sent a former lover of late billionaire tycoon Nina Wang to prison for 12 years for forging a will naming him the sole beneficiary of her estate, one of Asia's largest fortunes at an estimated $4 billion.
Justice Andrew Macrae handed down the sentence to Peter Chan, formerly known as Tony Chan, in the city's high court a day after a jury found him guilty on charges of forgery and using a forged document. Chan had pleaded not guilty to a number of charges.
Sentencing Chan to 12 years on each charge, to be served concurrently, Macrae highlighted the "shameless and unparalleled greed" at the heart of a "well-executed and well-planned" crime.
Peter Chan, formerly known as Tony, a feng shui master, claimed he was the only benefi ciary of assets of late billionaire tycoon Nina Wang, one of Asia's wealthiest women. [Photo provided to China Daily]
"Never once ... have you shown the slightest remorse for your conduct," the judge said.
Chan was flanked by three guards in the dock and calmly stared at his wife in the public gallery as the sentence was announced. His wife sobbed throughout the hearing, covering her mouth with a small handkerchief.
The proceedings had transfixed Hong Kong with revelations of adultery and bizarre rituals associated with feng shui, a Chinese philosophy meaning "wind-water" that is used to create harmonious surroundings and harness natural energies.
The 53-year-old father of three also described in court how he had enjoyed a passionate sexual relationship with the billionaire heiress, who was more than 20 years his senior.
Known as "Little Sweetie" after a favorite Japanese manga character, Wang was one of Asia's wealthiest women, with a business empire including the Chinachem Group, Hong Kong's largest private property developer. She died of cancer in 2007 at the age of 69.
Late billionaire tycoon Nina Wang, file photo. [Photo provided to China Daily]
The petite Wang, known for her braided pigtails, miniskirts and pet dogs that she took to boardroom meetings, inherited most of her wealth from her husband, Teddy, who was kidnapped in 1990 and never seen alive again, despite the payment of a $33 million ransom.
The sentence is the latest setback for Chan, who was ordered in March to pay HK$340 million ($43.8 million) in overdue taxes, and has been hit by the long, costly legal battle for Wang's estate that he lost in 2011.
Chan, a former bartender and feng shui master who once lived in a cramped public housing flat, changed his name from Tony after that ruling and converted to Christianity this year.
In 2011, the high court upheld a previous judgment that a 2006 will leaving Wang's entire estate to her former lover and feng shui master was a forgery. Instead, it upheld an earlier will bequeathing her fortune to a charitable foundation run by Wang's family.