Gina Rinehart: Australian mining magnate loses control of multi-billion-dollar family trust

Australia's richest person has already seen her wealth plunge by nearly A$6bn in the last year

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Mining magnate Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest person, has lost a long-running court battle for control of a multi-billion-dollar family trust.

The court ruling came as Ms Rinehart saw her wealth plunge by nearly A$6 billion (£3bn) from A$20bn to A$14bn in the last year, according to the Australian business magazine BRW, due to the fall in the price of iron ore.

The family trust was set up in 1988 by Ms Rinehart’s father, Lang Hancock, who named his four grandchildren as beneficiaries. Estimated to be worth up to A$5bn, it was due to vest in September 2011, when the youngest, Ginia, turned 25. Bianca Rinehart and her brother John Hancock sued their mother for alleged misconduct in attempting to push back the date back to 2068.

The pair and another daughter, Hope Welker, sought to have their mother removed as trustee, but Hope subsequently withdrew. Ginia sided with her mother in the family feud. Gina Rinehart denied misconduct.

Gina Rinehart resigned as a trustee before the hearing was due to begin, and today, Federal Court judge Paul Brereton appointed Bianca as trustee.