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FATHER LOOSE COURT BATTLE WITH SON


An 87-year-old wheelchair-bound British Sikh father has lost a high-profile court battle with his son for a share of the wealth from a luxury hotel chain they built together, which is now worth 800 million pounds. Bal Mohinder Singh co-founded the Radisson Blu Edwardian chain with his son Jasminder Singh, 63, after immigrating to the UK from India via Kenya in the 1970s. Mohinder told the court that the Sikh tradition of 'mitakshara' obliged Jasminder to share his wealth with his family because he was raised as a Sikh. However, the British judge dismissed the 50-million pounds claim, saying the root of the problem was the difference in upbringing of the father and son. Judge William Blackburne said: "Although I have rejected father's claim, it by no means follows that I regard him or mother as having in any way acted dishonestly in making it. "On the contrary, they struck me as having advanced this claim in all good faith believing it to be well founded." "The root of the difference between them was in their upbringings, with the father being raised in rural British India and the mother in Kenya. But Jasminder completing his education in the UK and taking little interest in the religious side of Sikhism," he added. In a witness statement, Jasminder had said that he never had a particularly religious upbringing and he had no formal agreement with his parents to share the property nor was there an implied agreement. According to the 'Campden Family Business' journal, the family's first business was a small post office followed by a bed and breakfast in Kensington. Over the years, the Singhs steadily brought up high-profile hotels including the Savoy Court and the May Fair in central London. The chain was originally called the Edwardian Group, before joining forces with the Carlson family's US-based Radisson brand to form Radisson Blu Edwardian in 1997. The business is now worth an estimated 800 million pounds. Although he provided the initial capital, Mohinder said he put his son in charge because of his level of English and his accountancy skills. Mohinder told the court his son forced him to retire in 2010 and has since failed to share dividends generated by the business. Mohinder's counsel, John McDonnell QC, said: "The father is not claiming a share of any of Jasminder's wealth acquired by his own efforts. It is our claim that Jasminder's wealth is the family's wealth. The only cash put into the family's empire is that put in by the father in the 70s." The wheelchair-bound Mohinder and his 80-year-old wife Satwant live with Jasminder in a seven-bedroom country house in Berkshire with their extended families.

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