Singapore’s prime minister on Tuesday attended the first hearing of a defamation suit he has filed against a blogger over corruption allegations, local media reported.
Lee Hsien Loong sued Leong Sze Hian, who is also a financial adviser, over an article the blogger shared on his Facebook page in November 2018, linking the premier to Malaysia’s 1MBD state fund money-laundering scandal, according to The Straits Times.
The article alleged that former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had signed secret deals with Lee for help from Singaporean banks in laundering money from the scandal-ridden state fund, the daily said.
Lee’s lawyer said the allegations were false and baseless and highly defamatory, and it was clear that Leong had published the post with malicious intent, according to the report.
He added that Lee is seeking aggravated damages and an injunction to prevent Leong from publishing or disseminating the defamatory allegations, or other accusations of complicity in matters relating to Malaysia’s embattled sovereign wealth fund.
Leong, in his defense, denied that he had any malicious intent, saying that he took down his Facebook post soon after being told to do so by authorities, the report said.
Leong had also filed a counterclaim against Prime Minister Lee, claiming that the defamation suit against him was an abuse of the process of the court, but the High Court allowed an application by Lee to strike out the counterclaim.
Leong’s lawyer Lim Tean was arrested last Friday after he failed to turn up for a police interview over suspected criminal breach of trust, but was soon released on bail.
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