Gina Rinehart's son-in-law was asked to resign from the board of Perth mining company Mineral Resources the month after his wife commenced legal action against her mining magnate mother.
The West reported the company feared it would become embroiled in a public “bloodbath”.
Ryan Welker, who is married to Rinehart's daughter, Hope, was asked to step down from his $98,100-a-year position as non-executive director of Mineral Resources just four weeks after Rinehart’s three estranged children launched what was to be a very public legal battle.
Welker was Hancock Prospecting’s appointment to the board, a company owned by Rinehart.
He was told his resignation was necessary, and it has been reported that the push came within days of Welker writing to Rinehart stating that he would not resign, insisting he was not involved in the court battle and that he held no grievances with her.
"I have no personal claim against you. My role in the matter is akin to the witness of a purse snatching who happens to be the only person who knows to call the police.
"I will continue to support my family, including John and Bianca – even Ginia if she so chooses – to do what I believe is morally and ethically correct, even if that places you and I in personal conflict," Welker wrote.
In October 2011, Mineral Resources publically announced Welker’s departure, saying it was prompted by a move to New York with his wife, a claim repeated in the company’s annual report.
It has been reported that emails between Welker and Mineral Resources show he did not wish to resign, rather he was asked to quite on October 6, a day before his resignation was announced.
In an email to Welker, the company's executive director Chris Ellison wrote: "Hope all is well in New York with you and your family. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I need to ask you to resign from the MRL Board."
He said the company was getting "serious heat from HPPL [Hancock Prospecting] on the board position and they will soon have it all over the media, which I can't afford, and I hope you understand.
"I have enjoyed having your support as a director and friend and hope you understand.
"I just don't want MRL caught up in a bloodbath."
The West reported that sources close to both Welker and Mineral Resources have alleged that at one point Hancock Prospecting threatened to vote against Welker at the company's annual general meeting unless he was removed.
In an email to Rinehart, Welker said there had been no evidence of misconduct in his duties as non-executive director and he enjoyed the unanimous support of the Mineral Resources board adding that his New York location would benefit the company.