Baby one of several heirs of murdered West Vancouver millionaire: lawyer
Forensics teams are probing a suspicious death at a home in West Vancouver’s prestigious British Properties. May 4, 2015. (CTV)
Tamsyn Burgmann, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, July 29, 2015 2:28PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 29, 2015 6:09PM EDT
VANCOUVER -- It appears a baby girl possibly fathered by a murdered West Vancouver millionaire will have to share the fortune with siblings.
The girl's mother, Xuan Yang, has claimed in court documents that her daughter is sole heir to the $50-million estate of Gang Yuan.
But a lawyer for Gang's family has come forward saying the man actually fathered several children, meaning the wealth will have to be divided among the children.
Chris Johnson, the lawyer for Gang's mother and brother, said he's puzzled by the approach taken by Xuan, the man's former lover.
"(My clients) don't stand to gain or lose from letting some children be his children and others not," said Johnson.
"They feel they are their son's and brother's children and they're happy to have them as part of their family. There's no dispute."
Gang's body was found chopped into more than 100 pieces in early May. A male relative is charged with second-degree murder.
The tale of money, gruesome death and murky relationships returned to the limelight after a B.C. Supreme Court recently ordered paternity testing for Xuan's infant.
The daughter of the Chinese woman, believed living in the United States with mom, would by law inherit the man's fortune if proven his only offspring, as Xuan claims.
But Johnson says "several" children -- some living in Vancouver and others living in China -- have already been DNA tested. The paternity investigation proved Gang was their dad too, he said.
"I don't understand it, frankly," he said of Xuan's court application for the test, which the family did not oppose. "She knows full well there are other infants and children claiming his paternity."
The court ordered testing on Xuan's baby be conducted by the end of August. Johnson said he believes the test is already complete, although results haven't been finalized.
Sworn documents filed by Xuan either shed light or create further confusion.
The woman alleges that Gang's brother initially tried to obstruct her from getting results -- claims his lawyer says are untrue.
She describes a tangle of warnings about danger, threats that her lover's remains would be cremated and assurances that the tests would be performed without her involvement. Xuan states she finally cut ties with the brother.
The birth certificate for her child, born in California, names Gang as the father.
Johnson said aspects of the case are sensational, but noted DNA results won't be controversial. Rather, the imbroglio stems from Gang's life being ended unexpectedly.
"It's a lesson in why you should leave a will," he said.
Trevor Todd, an estate litigation lawyer, said any other children would share the inheritance equally.
"There's a number of people, and I see them through my doors, who have secret lives and other families," he said.
"Everyone's equal, doesn't matter where you live in the world. As long as you've got the DNA, it's pretty simple. Dads go around sowing their oats."
Gang moved from China to Canada in 2007 and it's believed he was a permanent resident, Johnson said.
His estate includes a home in Vancouver, part-ownership in Pym Island, north of Victoria, and the house where he lived in West Vancouver. That property, however, was listed under the accused's name, Li Zhao, and is the subject of other litigation.
Gang also controlled an agricultural company that owns a vast tract of land in Saskatchewan.