John Hancock has made a shock appearance at Western Australia’s Supreme Court amid a multibillion-dollar court battle over his family’s mining riches, declaring he had flown to Perth to defend his grandfather Lang Hancock’s reputation.
Mr Hancock and his sister Bianca Rinehart were seated together in court on Monday as lawyers for the pair made the extraordinary claim that Hancock Prospecting’s entire stake in the Hope Downs mining operation should belong only to Lang Hancock’s four grandchildren, and not their mother Gina Rinehart.
“I’m here to defend my grandfather and his reputation,” Mr Hancock told The Australian Financial Review.
Bianca Rinehart and John Hancock arrive at the WA Supreme Court on Monday. Australian Financial Review
Barrister for Bianca and John, Christopher Withers, SC, argued that the profits paid to Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting from the Hope Downs operation rightfully belonged to her children via a trust that was set up by their grandfather, and later “stolen” by their mother.
Mr Withers argued that Lang Hancock pushed ahead with a risky plan to sell iron ore to Romania in the 1980s on his own and without the support of his daughter, who wanted nothing to do with the scheme, nor his business partner Peter Wright.
That doomed Romanian project was the genesis for the current Hope Downs mining operation, Mr Withers said.
The tenements and the mining operation to sell ore to Romania were pursued solely by Lang Hancock via a company that he ultimately left to his grandchildren, and not Hancock Prospecting, which Gina Rinehart controls, Mr Withers said.
Mr Withers earlier this year alleged Gina Rinehart “stole” the mine via a “calculated and deliberate fraud” of her own children, whichRead more on afr.com