Tycoon calls off £78m deal to turn lesbian daughter straight
But Hong Kong billionaire Cecil Chao still refuses to welcome his daughter's partner into the family
THE Hong Kong billionaire who offered £78m to any man who could seduce and marry his lesbian daughter has called off the deal – but still refuses to accept her girlfriend.
Cecil Chao, a 77-year-old property tycoon, told CNN that he was retracting the offer to find his daughter Gigi a husband.
"Her private life is hers," he said, but added that he would never accept her partner of nine years, Sean Eav.
"If this is the way she wants to be, for the time being it's all over," he said. Asked what he meant by "for the time being", Chao explained: "Because she is only 33. Life changes. I mean I changed a lot [from] when I was 33 to now."
He insisted he was not trying to use money to buy her happiness. "She has to choose her own happiness," he said, "but I can use my money to let her have choice – whatever she chooses to be the best for her."
When asked if he welcomed her partner into the family, Chao replied: "No."
Chao said he sees his daughter every day but she never told him in person that she was a lesbian and that he found out in a newspaper.
His decision to call off the deal comes after Gigi published an open letter to her father, widely circulated among Hong Kong media, which urged him to accept her partner.
She told her father that she has had relationships with men before but they were "always short-lived", as she "lost patience" and "felt an indescribable discomfort" in their presence.
"As your daughter, I would want nothing more than to make you happy," she wrote. "But in terms of relationships, your expectations of me and the reality of who I am are not coherent."
Chao's payment – originally set at £40m – horrified gay and lesbian organisations in Asia, but he upped the bounty earlier this month, insisting his daughter's "thinking will change in the future".