The dispute over ownership of Hancock Prospecting has led to accusations of privacy breaches in court yesterday.
Gina Rinehart’s daughter Bianca Rinehart has said in court that she was coerced into signing documents that governed distribution of profits from Hancock Prospecting.
Rinehart and her brother John have applied for the deeds and agreements relating to the distribution of profits be set aside, and the imbalance of profits be redistributed.
However representation for Gina Rinehart has countered the claim by seeking an order for the application to be set aside or permanently stayed.
Bianca Rinehart told the court she had been forced to sign a deed of agreement involving Rose Porteous (referred to as the Porteous Deed) in August 2006, and had been upset and crying at the Hancock Prospecting offices.
“This is a young woman who was compelled by her mother and Hancock Prospecting to sign a deed against her will,’ Rinehart’s counsel told the court.
A statement from Hancock Prospecting discounted claims about Rinehart having to sign agreements under duress.
"The multiple deeds in this case were signed by her as an adult many years ago,” the statement said.
“Now, after all those years, and the value of the assets increasing, two only of the children of Mrs Rinehart are now choosing to try to renege on those agreements that they made.
“This, despite as recently as 2013, reconfirming them as binding under arbitration proceedings they entered under the Hope Downs deeds.”
Rinehart also told the court her email had been hacked and emails deleted.
"Recently all of my emails have been deleted, which I didn't do, and it’s not difficult to imagine who might have [and] in whose interest that would have been" Rinehart said.
Hancock Prospecting struck back at the indirect accusation of email tampering, saying it was “utterly ridiculous and incorrect to suggest that some of her private emails have been deleted”.
“What she is suggesting is no more than a fantasy.”
Rinehart has accused her mother of withholding information relating to the deed prior to signing, and pressuring her to sign the deed or risk losing a potential agreement with Rio Tinto, but legal counsel for Gina Rinehart has accused Rinehart of fabricating claims that her mother deliberately withheld information.
Ten emails which were sent to the team of Hope Downs directors in 2006 were produced in court which detailed information about the deed, however Rinehart said she had a “summarised understanding” of the issues pertaining to the draft agreements.
Rinehart admitted to making false statements in earlier sworn affidavits, and retracted her claim that she did not receive an inter-creditor agreement, only after evidence was presented that she did receive drafts of the agreement.
Rinehart also admitted to leaking documents relating to the Hope Downs Trust to her siblings during her employment at Hancock Prospecting.
"I didn't think I was doing anything wrong and I still don't," she said.
Gina Rinehart owns 76.55 per cent of Hancock Prospecting while her children own 23.45 per cent of the company.
Rinehart contends that she and her brother John and siblings Ginia and Hope should own 49 per cent of Hancock Prospecting.