In what's shaping up to be an epic family feud, three of billionaire Gina Rinehart's four children are suing her for putting their inheritance out of reach until they're octogenarians. And she's just lost a court battle to keep details of the spat secret.

She's notoriously private and shuns interviews but Australia's wealthiest citizen Gina Rinehart, estimated to be worth $20bn, has been thrust into the limelight by a family squabble over a $2.4bn dollar trust fund. Last year, just before the trust was due to pay out, Rinehart told her kids they would face a huge tax bill if they did not give her long term control of the trust. She then extended her trusteeship until 2068 meaning they won't get their hands on the cash until they're in their eighties and nineties. She fanned the flames by calling them "manifestly unsuitable" to manage the family fortune.

    Scenes from the Rinehart household (an artist's impression)

This has gone down rather badly with three quarters of her children, who have launched legal action against her demanding she stand down as trustee. Rinehart's youngest daughter, Ginia (the recipient of a Rolls Royce for her recent 25th birthday), is the only one to stand by her mother releasing a statement through Gadens to say: "this case has been nothing but a destructive display of greed, jealousy and a selfish sense of entitlement on behalf of my siblings".

This week Rinehart lost her battle in the NSW court to keep emails relating to the feud under wraps, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report. Since that judgment, Rinehart has spoken publicly for the first time about the dispute, slamming her progeny for their greed.  She refers to their "private schooling, private tutors, private summer schools, extensive holidays overseas, designer clothes" and "multi-million dollar homes with water views”, asserting that getting jobs will be good for them. In response her children have called her "deceitful" and "manipulative."
Rinehart is no stranger to litigation. She inherited her fortune from her father, a big cheese in the mining world, only after a bitter fight with his third wife, and former maid. A combination of business savvy coupled with a tenfold increase in iron ore prices, has seen her bank account shoot upwards ever since, putting her on course to be the richest woman in the world.

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Anonymous 23 March 12 00:13

Money doesn't make you happy, does it?