TORONTO — A lawsuit filed by the business tycoon Frank Stronach, who is claiming 520 million $ of compensation and damages against her daughter, two grandchildren and other, has laid bare a dispute old of two years on the control and management of the family company.
Mr. Stronach, who founded Magna International and transformed it into a global giant auto parts, alleges in a complaint filed in the superior Court of justice of Ontario and his daughter Belinda Stronach and his former partner Alon Ossip has poorly managed the assets of the family and conspired to take control of it.
“At the heart of this procedure is a series of illegal actions undertaken by Belinda, in collaboration with Alon and other persons with which they are associated, in order to appropriate the assets of the family Stronach to their personal benefit”, one can read in the lawsuit.
The conflict is about the control of the Stronach Group, the center of a number of companies focused on horse-racing race and games, that Frank Stronach had extended to agriculture and to the development of golf courses.
The lawsuit, which has not yet been challenged before the courts, depicts the portrait of a father confident that has ceded control of family trusts in 2013 to serve on the national Parliament of his native Austria, knowing that he was always a control de facto , and that he could resume his post when he wishes.
According to the lawsuit, Belinda and Alon would have envisaged in November 2016 to cut the funding of the projects of Frank, including those in the agricultural sector, and have decided that the latter had no authority to act on behalf of the activities of the Stronach Group and could not access its funds business.
It further alleges that “company documents have been falsified in the framework of a strategy (…) seeks to limit or eliminate the role of Frank in the management of the family company Stronach”, and that the relationship between Belinda and the members of the family had completely collapsed in the wake of the many abuses of trust.
Belinda Stronach has dismissed the allegations.
“Family relationships within a business can be difficult,” she said Wednesday evening.
“My children and I love my father. However, its claims are false and we will respond officially to the declaration in the normal course of the judicial proceedings.”
A spokesman for Alon Ossip has said that the allegations were “without merit and not based on facts or reality”.
“Alon has always honored its obligations and acted in good faith to preserve and develop the assets of the family Stronach and to protect the interests of all members of the family,” said the spokesman, Paul Deegan, in a statement.
“It is a conflict between members of the family Stronach which should be resolved between members of the family.”
The lawyers of Nicole and Frank Walker, the grandchildren named in the lawsuit, have denied the charges.
“Our clients consider as regrettable the decision of their grandparents to include in this action and believe that the legal actions against them are unjustified,” said Benjamin Zarnett, Goodmans LLP.
Frank Stronach said Wednesday in a statement that the couple had made “substantial efforts” during the past two years to solve the problem and that he had filed the lawsuit as a last resort.