The daughter-in-law of Singapore’s founding father has been found guilty by a disciplinary tribunal of professional misconduct over her involvement in preparing his will, which is at the heart of a feud between the city-state’s first family.
The latest development in a long-running saga could sow further discord among Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) and his siblings — whose father, Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀), cofounded the party which has ruled the city-state unbroken since independence — ahead of an election that must be held early next year.
The feud centers around the fate of Lee Kuan Yew’s old house.
“I disagree with the Disciplinary Tribunal’s report and will fight this strongly when it is heard in open court,” said Lee Suet Fern (林學芬), a lawyer who is married to the prime minister’s younger brother, Lee Hsien Yang (李顯揚).
She made the comments in a text message replying to reporters’ queries.
Lee Hsien Yang, and his sister, Lee Wei Ling (李瑋玲), want the house to eventually be demolished in accordance with what they said was their father’s wishes as stated in his will, but the prime minister has questioned whether their father really wanted the home to be knocked down.
The Singaporean Attorney General’s Chambers had last year referred to the Law Society a case of “possible professional misconduct” over the involvement of Lee Suet Fern in the will as her husband was one of the beneficiaries.
The tribunal in its findings last week, seen by reporters, said it found that the charges against her have been proven beyond reasonable doubt and there was cause for disciplinary action.
It said that even if she had not been Lee Kuan Yew’s lawyer, she misled him, and procured his execution of the will on the basis of misrepresentations.
In her defense, her lawyers said Lee Kuan Yew was never her client and she was not instructed by him in relation to the will.
She was merely assisting in a family matter at the request of her husband, they added.
Her case will be referred to the Court of Three Judges, the highest disciplinary body to deal with lawyers’ misconduct, and she could face a fine, suspension or be disbarred, the Straits Times reported.
Her husband did not comment directly on the ruling, but yesterday shared his sister’s Facebook post that criticized the decision.
He has previously said his wife “was never Lee Kuan Yew’s lawyer” and that “no one has complained from the outset on the process and circumstances” of his father’s signing his final will.
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