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K.C. Vijayan
Friday, Jun 6, 2014

Singapore

Late tycoon's assets: Judge approves sealing of case files 'reluctantly'

The Straits Times | K.C. Vijayan | Friday, Jun 6, 2014

SINGAPORE - A high court judge has approved an application for a case to be taken off public access, out of respect for the decisions of the judges in previous proceedings of the case, but stressed that he did so "reluctantly".

The judge, Justice Choo Han Teck, said sealing a court file just because the party involved is rich or famous is unjustifiable. A file which is ordered to be sealed by the court is not open to public access and the names of the parties are concealed.

In judgment grounds released yesterday, he noted that lawyers seeking to seal the file had argued that previous suits on the same case were also sealed by the judges involved.

The case in question is about the distribution of assets left behind by a "very wealthy tycoon", pitting the executors of his estate against his three daughters, who were among the beneficiaries.

In 2012, two of the sisters obtained an order under the Mental Capacity Act from a district judge to handle the affairs of the other sister as she had a mental incapacity.

But even before the district court ruling, executors had resolved to distribute about £39.3 million (S$83 million) to beneficiaries based on their share entitlement.

After the district judge's decision in January last year, the executors wrote to the two sisters to hand over the affected sister's money to them.

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