The team of lawyers representing Lee Suet Fern, the daughter-in-law of Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, has filed a 21-page defence against the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ (AGC) allegations of “professional misconduct” in relation to her preparation of the late Mr Lee’s final will.
Mrs Lee’s husband, Lee Hsien Yang, revealed the matter in a Facebook post on Fri (12 Apr).
Earlier this year in a 500-page complaint, the 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.
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”.
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.
In his Facebook post on Fri, the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also questioned his elder brother’s initial silence regarding their late father’s final will, stating that PM Lee “never saw fit to take these up with our father”, and did not discuss the issue with him and their sister Lee Wei Ling.
“Advised by his then-personal lawyer, Lucien Wong, Loong has also not personally lodged any complaint all these years,” added Mr Lee Hsien Yang. Probate of the will was also granted in October 2015.
Earlier this week on Mon (8 Apr), Mr Lee Hsien Yang announced that former Attorney-General Walter Woon will be acting on behalf of Mrs Lee 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.
Previously, Mr Lee Hsien Yang emphasised that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had simply reiterated the allegations made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, his elder brother, from “years ago” in its most recent complaint. The same allegations have been made by other PAP Ministers inside and outside of Parliament.
In defense to allegations of impropriety, AGC stated that Mr Wong has recused himself from the complaint the law society.
PM Lee’s allegation against Mrs Lee, was made to a ministerial committee set up in 2017 to consider the future of the house.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee had considered the committee to be a secret committee, as it was only made known to public after Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang had published a joint statement on 14 June denouncing their elder brother’s alleged abuse of the powers vested in him as Prime Minister for his personal agenda.