Former Attorney-General Walter Woon will be acting on behalf of Lee Suet Fern, the daughter-in-law of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, in disciplinary proceedings involving allegations of misconduct made by the current Attorney-General Lucien Wong regarding her involvement in drafting the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s final will.
Lee Hsien Yang, Mrs Lee’s husband, said in a Facebook post this morning that he is “delighted” to have Prof Woon representing his wife in the impending case, and that they “look forward to his legal guidance and wise counsel”.
“He will further strengthen the defence team of Abraham Vergis and his team at Providence Law Asia,” added Mr Lee.
Earlier this year, AGC had referred a case of “possible professional misconduct” case on the part of Mrs Lee, who is formerly a managing partner at law firm Morgan Lewis Stamford, to the Law Society.
Citing the Legal Profession (Professional Conduct) Rules, AGC alleged that “(Mrs) Lee’s conduct appears prima facie to be in breach of Rules 25 and 46 of the Professional Conduct Rules”, and that the rules necessitate lawyers to avoid or remove themselves from “a position of conflict”.
“Where a person intends to make a significant gift by will to any member of the lawyer’s family, the lawyer must not act for the person, and must advise him to obtain independent advice in respect of the gift.
“This rule applies even if the lawyer is related to the person making the gift,” added AGC.
Consequently, AGC said that the referral was made “in accordance with the law, and consistent with how the AGC has handled other cases of alleged professional misconduct by lawyers.”
“There will be a full hearing before the Disciplinary Tribunal appointed by the Chief Justice. Ms Lee Suet Fern can put forward her case before the Tribunal, in accordance with the Legal Profession Act,” concluded AGC.
According to AGC, the current Attorney General, Mr Lucien Wong has recused himself from the case as he had formerly acted as PM Lee’s personal lawyer in the 38 Oxley Road dispute, and is said to be replaced by Deputy Attorney-General Lionel Yee.
A Law Society spokesperson told TODAY on 7 Jan that “Any complaint received by the Law Society will go through due process as stipulated in the Legal Profession Act.”
“Such proceedings are also ordinarily subject to statutory confidentiality. As such, Law Society is unable to comment on, or divulge details about, disciplinary complaints,” the spokesperson concluded.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang also emphasised that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had recently reiterated the allegations made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, his elder brother, from “years ago” in its most recent complaint.
In a statement on 7 Jan, AGC stated: “Ms Lee appears to have prepared the Last Will of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and arranged for Mr Lee Kuan Yew to execute it, despite the fact that her husband, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, is one of the beneficiaries under the Last Will”, and that his “share increased under the Last Will”.
It also noted that “Mr Lee Hsien Yang had said publicly that the Last Will was drafted by Ms Kwa Kim Lee of M/s Lee & Lee. However Ms Kwa Kim Lee has denied that she drafted it,” the AGC added.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in a summary of his statutory declaration in Jun 2017, had also indicated that Ms Kwa had prepared all of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s wills, barring the final one, adding that Mrs Lee instead “saw to the preparation of the new will and got one of her lawyers to be on standby to get it executed by Mr Lee”.
Lee Wei Ling defends Mrs Lee against “dishonest allegations of cheating”, notes that Mrs Lee had instead assisted in reinstating Dr Lee’s rights to the late Lee Kuan Yew’s estate
Earlier this year on 9 Jan, Lee Wei Ling, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s only daughter, drew attention to the AGC’s repetition of “dishonest allegations of cheating” made via Mr Wong against Mrs Lee in their 500-paged submission to the Law Society.
Her original post in June 2017, which she had referred to in her 9 Jan post, refuted the AGC’s allegations against Mrs Lee, stating that PM Lee and his wife Ho Ching had “selectively” quoted Dr Lee out of context “to suggest that Hsien Yang and his wife were trying to cheat me in our father’s final will”.
She added: “I had much earlier and repeatedly made clear to Hsien Loong and Ho Ching the truth that there was no duplicity by Hsien Yang and his wife, Suet Fern.
“He continues to repeat a position that I have both clarified and discredited as a smokescreen to obscure the key point that Lee Kuan Yew’s his final will of 17 December 2013 is in the same terms as his will of 19 August 2011, including the demolition clause, exactly as our father had intended.
“After that will of 19 August 2011, Hsien Loong and Ho Ching were unhappy that I had been given a right to live at the original house at 38 Oxley Road.
“They pushed and persuaded my father very hard on this issue. This eventually resulted in 2012 in my losing my right to stay in the house and my share of my father’s estate being reduced to only a life interest,” she lamented.
Dr Lee highlighted that it was her sister-in-law Mrs Lee, who is a lawyer herself, who had “interceded” in a dispute with Mr Lee Kuan Yew on Dr Lee’s behalf when PM Lee and Ho Ching were overseas.
“She met with Lee Kuan Yew and made a case that since I was his only daughter and was unmarried, it was particularly important that he provide for me rather than reduce my interest in his estate,” said Dr Lee, adding that Mr Lee Kuan Yew “did reinstate me and gave me an extra 1/7 share as a result”.
“Hsien Yang and his wife were never informed of this extra share and continued to worry that I should be fairly treated and have a right to live in the house,” she noted.
The two younger siblings of PM Lee have been embroiled in the high-profile dispute over the 38 Oxley Road home with their elder brother since 2017, in which Mr Lee and Dr Lee had both accused PM Lee of leveraging his position as Prime Minister against the demolition of the old property at 38 Oxley Road, leading to a Parliamentary debate and a ministerial statement by PM Lee on the issue.