Australian billionaire Rinehart seeks to block TV biopic

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 12, 2015 11:34 PM

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Lawyers for Australia's richest person, Gina Rinehart, launched on Friday a potential bid to block a TV biopic on the mining magnate from airing this weekend, demanding the right to vet the show for possible defamatory content.

The notoriously private Rinehart is demanding a copy of The House of Hancock, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported, in order to find material that could be used to obtain an injunction and stop the show from airing.

The two-part series produced by Australia's Nine Network dramatizes the personal life of Rinehart and her late father, eccentric mining pioneer Lang Hancock.

Her attorneys petitioned the New South Wales state Supreme Court for an urgent preliminary discovery, the ABC reported, in a bid to see if there were grounds to have the second episode blocked from airing.

The first part of the series ran last weekend and depicted Rinehart's early life.

Her lawyer Tom Blackburn told the court that the second episode may contain "malicious and defamatory" information about the heiress, the ABC reported, despite not having seen it.

"It is apparent Channel Nine knows some of it is made up," he said.

Rinehart, who inherited iron ore mines in Western Australia state and rode the commodities boom to briefly become the world's richest woman, has a reputation for litigiousness.

She is embroiled in a long-running legal battle with two of her four children over control of a trust that holds 23.5 percent of her mining vehicle, Hancock Prospecting.

(Reporting by Matt Siegel)