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Published 06 July 2012 10:08, Updated 12 July 2012 04:15
Money can’t buy happiness, or freedom from litigation it seems.
BRW Young Rich members at the centre of a courtroom battle may take heart from the fact that bitter disputes involving wealthy Australians are nothing new.
The latest dispute being played out in the Federal Court involves a group of 30-something multi-millionaires who left high-frequency trading firm Optiver to start one of their own, Tibra.
They include Danny Bhandari (who had an estimated net wealth of $35 million on last year’s Young Rich list), Kinsey Cotton ($29 million), Glenn Williamson ($28 million) and Christian King ($21 million).
Fast growth, big profits and extreme wealth quickly followed the launch of their new venture – as did questions from their former employer about whether they used Optiver’s confidential information to start their business.
Retaining high achievers with the capacity to earn vast sums of money is often difficult.
London-based hedge fund trader Greg Coffey ($665 million) turned down up to $US250 million when he quit as manager of the emerging markets fund of GLG Partners.
Mining tycoon Nathan Tinkler ($915 million) is not afraid of a stoush – even if it’s with one of the small group of people who are richer than him.
A long-distance argument with the Westfield Group chairman Frank Lowy over A-League licence fees was only resolved when Lowy flew to Brisbane to meet Tinkler and resolve their differences face to face.
But amicable resolutions are perhaps more an exception than the rule.
Shaun Bonett ($355 million) once described Ross Makris (whose family fortune is worth $910 million) as being like a brother.
“We are best friends, we’ve grown up together,” Bonnett said in 2000. But their close relationship came to an end in about 2002. It is believed a dispute involving stamp duty charges strained the relationship and they have since gone their separate ways.
Gina Rinehart ($29.17 billion in the Rich 200 for 2012) and Angela Bennett’s ($2.03 billion) dads might also have been close mates, but that hasn’t stopped their daughters from duking it out in court.
Bennett’s family is locked in several legal battles, including a stoush with Stan Perron ($2.05 billion) who is challenging both Rinehart and Bennett for a larger share of mining royalties, while Bennett and Rinehart are separately squabbling over the Rhodes Ridge deposit.
But amid the tangled web of legal actions, it’s not all war between the children of Lang Hancock and Peter Wright – the Bennett family and Rinehart have joined forces to seek a larger royalty stream from Rio Tinto.