The unsourced report said the aim of Deborah Ho’s legal action was to register her interest in her late father’s estate.
According to the report, Deborah Ho, the youngest child of Stanley Ho’s wife Clementina Leitao, logged the caveat with the Probate Registry in Hong Kong’s High Court, requesting that “no grant be sealed in the estate” without notifying her lawyers.
According to the Lexology website, a probate caveat is a document that is filed in court to prevent the proposed executors or administrators of a deceased person’s estate from getting permission to administer the estate assets. After a probate caveat is filed, the proposed executors or administrators of the estate cannot administer the assets until it has been proved to the court that the proposed will is the last valid will of the deceased person.
According to the report, the caveat was lodged by Deborah Ho’s solicitors at Wong, Fung & Co. 11 days after her father’s passing.
The report said that the personal fortune of Stanley Ho, who held several honorary doctorates, was estimated at HK$50 billion (US$6.45 billion) in 2018.
Stanley Ho was one of the three co-founders of Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM – “Macau Tourism and Amusement Company”) which won the Portuguese authorities’ casino monopoly concession for Macao in 1962. When Macao’s gaming industry was liberalised by the local government in 2002, STDM’s casinos were transferred to SJM (Sociedade de Jogos Macau – “Macau Gaming Company”), which continued to be headed by Stanley Ho until 2018.
SJM is now one of six rival gaming operators in Macao. Macao’s first casinos were licensed in 1849.
The SCMP report pointed out that Deborah Ho’s caveat was lodged in accordance with Hong Kong’s non-contentious probate rules. Such a caveat, according to the report, is typically in force for six months from the day it was submitted.
Last month, Deborah Ho took her sister Angela Ho Chiu Yin to court over two family trusts, the Clementina Ho Trust and the Stanley Ho & Clementina Family Trust, Hong Kong media reported at that time.
In the family court row, according to the Dimsum Daily news website, Deborah asked Angela, who is the trustee of both trusts, to provide her with the trust deeds and all documents related to the changes to the trust arrangement.
An SCMP report last month quoted Deborah as saying that she was “ill in Macao and poor” while seeking family trust documents.
The report also quoted Angela as saying, according to a statement by her lawyers, that this was a “fabrication” and that Deborah had received around HK$97 million from the funds.
The statement, according to the report, described Deborah Ho’s legal action as “unnecessary and disruptive.”