Lee Hsien Yang, wife Lee Suet Fern under police investigation for lying in judicial proceedings about Lee Kuan Yew's will
Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his wife Mrs Lee Suet Fern left Singapore and remain out of the country during the police's investigations, says Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.
SINGAPORE: Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his wife, lawyer Lee Suet Fern, are being investigated by the police for potential offences of giving false evidence in judicial proceedings over Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s will.
As part of the investigations, the police requested an interview with the couple, and they initially agreed to attend the interview, said Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean in a written parliamentary answer on Thursday (Mar 2).
But the couple later had a change of heart and refused to attend the interview, Mr Teo added.
In response to CNA's queries, the police said on Thursday night that it started investigations against the couple following a referral in October 2021.
The police contacted both of them in June last year and asked them to assist in investigations by attending a police interview.
"They agreed to assist but requested a different date. The police acceded to the request and scheduled an interview in July 2022 based on their availability," the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said.
But the couple did not turn up on the agreed date and sent a letter via email stating that they would not take part in the investigation.
The police have advised them to reconsider taking part in investigations, but they left Singapore and have remained out of the country, said Mr Teo.
The police said they did not receive any replies to their emails asking the couple to reconsider their decision.
"The police have also informed them that the necessary steps would be taken to complete the investigations in their absence," the Senior Minister said, adding that the couple's refusal to attend the interview was disappointing.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang is Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s brother, and Mr Lee Kuan Yew was their father.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, took to social media to challenge Mr Lee Hsien Loong over the fate of their family home at 38 Oxley Road after the death of their father.
In a ministerial statement in Parliament in 2017, Mr Lee Hsien Loong said he had recused himself from all Government decisions relating to 38 Oxley Road, as well as from all discussions and decisions relating to the house.
In 2020, Mrs Lee was suspended from practice by the Court of Three Judges for 15 months after she was found guilty of misconduct over the handling of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s last will.
REFUSAL TO PARTICIPATE IN INVESTIGATIONS RAISES QUESTIONS: MR TEO
On Thursday, Mr Teo – who was chair of the Ministerial Committee on 38 Oxley Road – noted that the Court of Three Judges and a disciplinary tribunal found that Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Mrs Lee misled Mr Lee Kuan Yew in the context of the last will’s execution, as well as lied under oath.
Mr Teo was responding to a question filed by MP Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim (PAP-Chua Chu Kang) about an e-book written by Mr Sudhir Thomas Vadeketh, titled The Battle Over Lee Kuan Yew's Last Will.
The Senior Minister said the couple's refusal to participate in investigations raises questions.
"If they maintain their innocence, the investigation will give them the chance to vindicate themselves. They should participate, take the full opportunity to give their side of the story, and clear their names," he added.
"As the investigations are ongoing, I will not say more at this juncture."
In 2020, a disciplinary tribunal as well as the Court of Three Judges – the highest disciplinary body dealing with lawyers' misconduct – found that Mrs Lee and her husband misled Mr Lee Kuan Yew in the context of the execution of his last will.
This led the court and tribunal to conclude that Mrs Lee was guilty of misconduct and they imposed a 15-month suspension.
On Thursday, Mr Teo cited the Court of Three Judges' judgment in saying: "Mrs Lee 'focused primarily on what her husband wanted done', and 'worked together with Mr Lee Hsien Yang, with a singular purpose, of getting Mr Lee Kuan Yew to execute the last will quickly'.
"Mr Lee Kuan Yew 'ended up signing a document which was in fact not that which he had indicated he wished to sign'."
The court and disciplinary tribunal also found that Mrs Lee and her husband lied under oath during the proceedings.
The tribunal said that the couple presented "an elaborate edifice of lies … both on oath … and through their public and other statements, which were referred to/relied upon during the disciplinary proceedings”, noted Mr Teo.
“The affidavits were contrived to present a false picture. Several of the lies were quite blatant,” the Senior Minister said, adding the 15-month was a serious penalty.
In a Facebook post on Thursday night, Mr Lee Hsien Yang responded to the latest developments by claiming that the "persecution of my family by Singapore authorities continues unabated" and that he "was the real target".
Tang, L. (2023, March 2). Lee Hsien Yang, wife Lee Suet Fern under police investigation for lying in judicial proceedings about Lee Kuan Yew’s will. CNA. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/lee-hsien-yang-wife-suet-fern-police-investigation-lying-judicial-proceedings-kuan-yew-will-3318666