Gina Rinehart, Australia's richest woman, can breath a small sigh of relief knowing she has one less family member to fight in an ongoing legal dispute.
Rinehart has reached a financial settlement with her estranged daughter Hope Rinehart Welker – one of three of her children involved in litigation to remove her as sole trustee of their trust fund.
The Hope Maragret Hancock Trust holds 23.45% of the voting shares of mining company Hancock Prospecting – the family business Rinehart inherited from her father, Lang Hancock. The trust was set up by Hancock for his grandchildren and the stake is estimated to be worth as much as Aus$4.2 billion (€3.3 billion).
Rinehart Welker applied to withdraw from the litigation at a hearing in a New South Wales court on 12 March – Justice Paul Brereton accepted her withdrawal, but ordered that she join her mother and her younger sister Ginia as defendants in the case.
She made the decision after she was left in dire financial straits following a split with her husband John Welker in late 2012. She was living without an income in New York with her two young children.
Although Rinehart Welker has bowed out of the fight, her half-brother John Hancock and half-sister Bianca Rinehart will continue with the litigation. Justice Brereton ordered the pair to identify "a replacement trustee or trustees" when the case returns to court next month.