It was going to be the largest single charitable donation in Panama's history: more than $50m (£32m) for poor children.
Wilson Lucom, a U.S. tycoon, left most of his estate to a foundation to help the neediest people in the country where he lived until his death in 2006, aged 88.
Now, four years later, after a bitter legal battle, the fortune is going to one of Panama's most powerful dynasties – including the ambassador to Britain – and the children have been left without a cent.
Panama's supreme court declared Lucom's will void in August, it has emerged, giving the entire estate to his widow, Hilda, the ailing, octogenarian matriarch of the Arias family, which has extensive media, property and financial interests.
Her five children from a previous marriage – scions of a family which boasts former presidents as well as ministers and diplomats – are expected to inherit the money after she dies.
Critics have accused the tycoon's widow of greed and questioned the integrity of Panama's judicial system.
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Court Overturns U.S. Tycoon's Will That Left Fortune to Panama's Poor