Rinehart case reveals family emails
Court documents reveal Gina Rinehart's daughter, Hope Rinehart Welker, is down to her last $60,000 and cannot afford a cook, bodyguard or housekeeper.
GINA RINEHART'S ''plan B'' to ensure details of the acrimonious dispute that is dividing her family remain private has backfired after a court released intimate emails from the iron ore magnate's daughters, which reveal their concerns about not having enough money to support their young children.
Lawyers for Mrs Rinehart say media reporting of her immense wealth and legal battles will expose her, her children and grandchildren to the risk of kidnapping, death threats and extortion, comparing her plight to the English footballer David Beckham, the US talk show host David Letterman and the late heart surgeon Victor Chang.
The NSW Supreme Court was told a risk assessment on the Rinehart family prepared by an international security firm, Control Risks, found media reporting of the legal dispute over control of the multibillion dollar family trust would increase the likelihood of abduction and kidnap for ransom, robbery, protest and harassment from ''criminals, deranged individuals and issue-motivated groups''.
But Justice Michael Ball said he saw no evidence as to why specific reporting of the family feud would increase the risk to the family's personal safety, when the long-time media coverage of Mrs Rinehart's extensive business activities had not.
Mrs Rinehart's three oldest children, John Langley Hancock, Bianca Hope Rinehart and Hope Rinehart Welker, took action to remove her as the trustee of the Hope Margaret Hancock trust, set up by their late grandfather Lang Hancock, alleging ''serious misconduct''.
Mrs Rinehart, who is supported by her youngest daughter, Ginia, 25, wants the dispute settled by confidential mediation or arbitration to prevent the details becoming public.
Despite winning an application in the High Court on Wednesday night for a five-week extension of the stay on the lifting of suppression orders encompassing the case, Mrs Rinehart's lawyers yesterday pursued their urgent application for a fresh suppression order in the NSW Supreme Court.
Documents tendered to the court included an email from Hope Rinehart Welker to her mother, on July 30, 2011, in which the 26-year-old asks for a cook, bodyguard and housekeeper for her birthday.
''I would buy them myself but I'm down to my last $60,000 and your (sic) only paying my husband $1 a year,'' she wrote.
Ms Welker, who lives in New York with her husband Ryan and two small children, also complains of the ''peer pressure that comes from being the wealthiest one [kid] in the country''.
''I don't think you understand what it means now that the whole world thinks you're going to be wealthier than Bill Gates - it means we all need bodyguards and very safe homes!! I should have enough money to have a bodyguard, housekeeper and cook. Even my friends who have nothing compared to your wealth have more staff.''
An email from Bianca Rinehart, who lives in Vancouver with her partner and child, tells of her fears she will be subject to a bomb hoax similar to that of Sydney schoolgirl Maddie Pulver. ''We are, by all accounts the highest risk family in all of Australia for future similar attacks … I would like to have security personnel present . . Unfortunately I do not have the financial means to achieve this and ask that you consider sponsoring such an arrangement or please makes funds available.''
The security report, codenamed Project Tara, by ex-Australian army officer Michael Humphreys, said reporting of the current case would increase the family's profile, potentially attracting kidnappers.
Sandy Dawson, for media groups including Fairfax Media, told the court Mrs Rinehart's application was ''plan B'' in her quest to ''have a suppression order whenever she wants it''.
The parties will reappear in court today. The suppression order application was stood over to February 10.