Singapore: Multi-millionaire tricked into giving away entire S$54m property to wife; Judge sets foot down

A multi-millionaire in Singapore was tricked by his estranged wife to sign his entire property over to their son in her trust, soon after the murder of his mother.

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A multi-millionaire in Singapore had a narrow escape from losing all his fortune. His wife had made him sign a legal document which gave away his entire property to their firstborn child, to be jointly held in trust by them. The judge ruled that the wife was vying for her husband's money as they are currently in the process of getting divorced.

The man, an oil and gas trader by profession, had substantial monetary resources of his father even before he started working. His wife, a former lawyer, had lied that the deed was meant to secure the future of their child in case something happened to the father.

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The deed was signed in March 2014 after the man's mother had been killed at home and the wife found out that the man and his sister had been jointly appointed executors and trustees of the deceased's S$54 million assets, including property in Holland Road and Bukit Timah. Additionally, the man has two apartments in the Marina Bay Sands area, reported Today Online.

Eight days after the matriarch's death, her daughter-in-law drew up the deed, which the man refused to sign at first. He later agreed when his wife and her father, a senior lawyer, falsely explained the terms and assured him of the document's legal effect.

Now, the case is in court and High Court judge Valerie Thean has ruled that the wife had taken advantage of her millionaire husband's grief-stricken condition after his mother's death to get a hold of his property. Although the woman claimed that her husband "had a change of heart", the court saw it as an exploitation of his vulnerable state of mind. Reportedly, she had also threatened to evict him from the house if he did not sign the document.

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"Her knowledge and her intention to take advantage of the plaintiff in this respect may be inferred from the circumstances under which the declaration of trust was drawn up — which indicate an inexplicable sense of urgency in the (wife) to have the plaintiff sign a document with serious implications," stated Thean.

The judge also recognised the wife's deed as an act of oppression which has shocked the court's conscience. Due to the court's ruling, the man has escaped being swindled out of his property by his estranged wife.