Macau tycoon drops lawsuit against family

Hong Kong: Macau tycoon Stanley Ho has dropped legal action against his family after accusing them of trying to steal his vast casino empire, a report said Monday.

The South China Morning Post said the 89-year-old tycoon had withdrawn the lawsuit three days after filing it, his latest U-turn as the family wrangles over ownership of SJM Holdings, the centrepiece of his $3.1 billion fortune.

"Dr Stanley Ho has informed the defendants that he does not see any point in continuing the legal action in the High Court," the newspaper quoted a statement from public relations firm Brunswick as saying.

It said the statement was issued on behalf of a group of relatives named as defendants in the lawsuit, while a "notice of discontinuance" was filed to Hong Kong`s High Court by Ho, acting on his own behalf.

The feud has gained international media attention, much of it focused on the colourful Ho and his complicated family tree, with 17 children born to four women whom he refers to as his wives.

The tycoon turned the former Portuguese colony of Macau into Asia`s gambling capital.

The claim filed last week, which appeared to be signed by Ho, sought an injunction to stop relatives from claiming ownership over SJM Holdings.

It also sought unspecified damages against four of the 11 defendants, including three of his children -- two of whom, Pansy and Lawrence Ho, run rival gambling concessions in Macau.

It alleges the group "improperly and/or illegally" moved to change the share structure at a holding company that ultimately controls Ho`s flagship firm, whose interests including 17 Macau casinos and several hotels.

Bureau Report