Shanmugam, Vivian Balakrishnan sue Lee Hsien Yang for defamation over Ridout Road claims
Ministers K. Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan have sued Mr Lee Hsien Yang in the High Court for defamation, following Mr Lee’s comments on Facebook about the Ridout Road saga.
According to the hearing list published on the Singapore Courts website, the case conference will be held on Sept 5.
Mr Shanmugam, who is Law and Home Affairs Minister, and Dr Balakrishnan, who is Foreign Minister, are represented by a team of lawyers from Davinder Singh Chambers.
On July 27, both ministers said they intended to sue Mr Lee for defamation if he did not apologise for having made false allegations relating to their rental of two black-and-white bungalows in Ridout Road.
Mr Lee is the younger son of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
In his Facebook post on July 27, Mr Shanmugam said: “Lee Hsien Yang has accused us of acting corruptly and for personal gain by having Singapore Land Authority (SLA) give us preferential treatment by illegally felling trees without approval, and also having SLA pay for renovations to 26 and 31 Ridout Road.
“These allegations are false.”
The ministers had asked Mr Lee Hsien Yang to apologise, withdraw his allegations and pay damages, which will be donated to charity.
“If he does not do so, we will sue him,” Mr Shanmugam had said.
In a post on July 23, Mr Lee claimed the “two ministers have leased state-owned mansions from the agency that one of them controls, felling trees and getting state-sponsored renovations”. The agency he was referring to is SLA.
After the two ministers sent him lawyers’ letters, Mr Lee said on Facebook on July 29 that he was simply stating the facts.
He added that the two ministers should sue him in a court in Britain, saying he was in the country at the time.
The issue of the Ridout Road rentals was debated in Parliament in July, following a Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) investigation and a review by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.
Mr Lee and his wife Lee Suet Fern are currently living overseas. The couple left Singapore after coming under police investigation for lying during judicial proceedings.