Everybody knows Genting Group for its famous casino, hospitality, cruise, and entertainment businesses. The conglomerate founded by Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong has been a national pride and huge economy benefactor. But in recent years, the group has been undergoing substantial lawsuits among the family that owns the conglomerate especially after Goh Tong’s eldest son Lim Tee Keong’s passing four years ago.
Source: The Edge
According to The Star, three children of Tee Keong have sued their uncles, Lim Kok Thay (left), chairman and chief executive of Genting Group, and Datuk Lim Chee Wah (right) for allegedly removing them as beneficiaries of a family trust that their grandfather had created for their father.
Lim Keong Yew, Lim Keong Hoe, and their sister Seok Leng are the children of Tee Keong and his first wife Agnes Tan Bee Gaik. The lawsuit against their uncles came after they found out that the will that their father left behind had discluded them from any family trust. They demand the courts to invalidate the will as they claimed that will was executed under “suspicious circumstances” one month prior to their father passing which is believed that Tee Keong was in an unstable condition to do so.
Source: The Edge
Before the passing, Tee Keong was reported to be a bon vivant. Under his leadership in certain businesses, he had led the company into bad investments, causing him to declare bankrupt in early 2003 because of his failure to repay RM200mil to two stockbroking companies.
Source: The Edge
The bankruptcy had forced patriarch Lim Goh Tong to “change a carefully designed inheritance structure he had created around a clutch of trust entities for each of his children and their families”, The Star reports.
Despite being bankrupt, Tee Keong and his family were still living lavishly in the comforts they were born into. However, on 14 April 2014, Tee Keong passed away from cancer after being diagnosed two months prior.
It was after their father’s passing the siblings found out that they were left out of the family trust. It turns out that control of the entity known as the Tee Keong Family Trust was transferred to their uncles, Kok Thay and Chee Wah, after Tee Keong’s bankruptcy. On top of the family trust, Tee Keong’s will explicitly discluded Keong Yew and Keong Hoe from inheritance while their mother and sister receive a collective 20% interest, whereas children and wife of Tee Keong’s second family receive the remaining 80%.
“My grandfather was illiterate, but he thought about everything,
“That he would want to have a legacy that would not include all of his family members is unthinkable,” said Keong Yew
In response to the decision stated in the will, Kok Thay and Chee Wah said Tee Keong was never close with the children. They said that it was Kok Thay that accompanied Tee Keong to regular medical appointments and it was Kok Thay that paid the bill for the funeral.
Source: The Star
The uncles also allegedly said that Keong Yew only returned from Hong Kong one day before his father’s passing, whereas Keong Hoe only returned to see his father after Kok Thay asked him to.
Other than the lawsuits come from the children of Tee Keong, Kok Thay’s sister also sued him over the beneficial interest in a block of Genting stock.
The Genting Group has a combined market capitalisation of more than RM135bil (S$45bil) and the family is estimated to control close to 45% of the group.
Experts say that the flooding of lawsuits clouding the conglomerate could lead to challenges to Kok Thay’s control over the Genting Group.
“This whole business with the courts is going to be very lengthy and messy,” said a senior partner of a Malaysian law firm, which has worked with Genting for many years. He declined to be identified when speaking to The Star.
The group is also aware of deepening family dispute is affecting investors’ trust in the grand scheme of things.
It was also reported that legal opinions weighed in agree that 65-year-old Kok Thay has “reasonable grounds” to believe that he has direct control of 42.62% of Genting shares through his direct holdings and control over private entities.
On a separate note, Gerald Lim Ewe Keng, a general manager of one of its subsidiary companies, said that Goh Tong only intended to have one “tiger” to lead the family, which is why he had given 40% of the shares to Kok Thay when he was alive.
“You can be sure that it is the old man’s (Goh Tong) thinking. He sees a lot of fights in other companies, he sees how they fight, the family will squabble.
“So he says, I will give to one, one tiger will rule the mountain. Don’t have three tigers there, three tigers, three opinions, three reasons, 40 things they will want to do.
“One tiger rules everything, and he did that,” said Ewe Keng, an employee of the group, though bears the same surname but he is not related to the family.
Hopefully, the Lim family can get everything sort out soon and put more of their effort back into reopening the amusement park.
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below.