AT THE COURTS

Man who sued ex-lover to recover $8.6 million succeeds in most claims

A dentist in Beijing who sued his Singapore-based former lover to recover 40 million yuan (S$8.6 million) he transferred to her during their three-year relationship has succeeded in most of his claims.

Chinese national Lyu Jun, 57, said he had transferred money to businesswoman Wei Ho-Hung, 40, so that they could build a life together in Singapore.

The transfers were for specific purposes, such as buying an apartment at D'Leedon, a condominium complex in Leedon Heights, and a Mercedes-Benz GLC250, and were not intended as gifts, he said.

On the other hand, Ms Wei, who was from China, said everything was meant as a gift of love to her.

Yesterday, High Court judge Philip Jeyaretnam said in a written judgment: "Ultimately, the question of who is telling the truth can be tested against the contemporaneous messages."

Justice Jeyaretnam considered the WeChat messages between the pair in early 2017 and found that Mr Lyu did not intend the apartment and the car to be outright gifts.

"Their common future lay in Singapore, and buying a home and car here expressed Mr Lyu's commitment to that future," said the judge.

That was why Mr Lyu said he "bought a house and car", without adding the words "for you", the judge said. He added: "I find that she recognised that the D'Leedon apartment was not hers."

Mr Lyu and Ms Wei first met at a medical conference in 2016.

Ms Wei, who set up a medical technology company in Singapore in 2014, said Mr Lyu promised to divorce his wife and marry her.

She has five children - three by her former husband, one by her former boyfriend, and one fathered by Mr Lyu via surrogacy in Cambodia.

Their relationship soured around September 2018, and ended in May 2019, when Mr Lyu was arrested as the result of a complaint made by Ms Wei to the police.

The complaint did not result in any prosecution.

Mr Lyu sued Ms Wei in June 2019 to recover the money, saying that the assets bought with the money were held on trust for him.

Besides the apartment and car, his money was also used to pay a part of the purchase price of a shop in Marne Road, in Little India.

Mr Lyu had also transferred money to Ms Wei to discharge a mortgage she had taken out over a property in Bartley Ridge.

He had also transferred money to her for a surrogacy procedure in the United States, an option to buy an apartment in Cairnhill, and investments in two dental clinics - all of which never took place.

Mr Lyu also helped Ms Wei pay for an application to apply for Grenadian citizenship for herself and her four children from previous relationships.

Justice Jeyaretnam declared that Mr Lyu owns 100 per cent of the apartment and the car, and 80 per cent of the shop.

The judge also ordered Ms Wei to pay Mr Lyu the sums of $354,684.22 for the US surrogacy procedure, the investments and the option, and 2.9 million yuan for the citizenship application.

Ms Wei also has to account to Mr Lyu for the rental received on the Cairnhill property.

However, the judge dismissed Mr Lyu's claim for return of the sum of $202,220.38 for the discharge of the mortgage on the Bartley property.

The judge did not accept Mr Lyu's contention that he had transferred the money on the basis that they would marry, and that since they did not marry, he was entitled to restitution.

The judge also dismissed the claim for a Rolex watch Mr Lyu said belonged to him, as there was no evidence to support his claim that Ms Wei took the watch.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2021, with the headline Man who sued ex-lover to recover $8.6 million succeeds in most claims. Subscribe