Lilyana Alwi, an 86-year-old Indonesian woman, is suing her son, Singaporean photographer John Arifin, age 62. She claims that Mr. Arifin misappropriated around half a million dollars from bank accounts they held jointly.
Mr. Arifin says, however, he has done nothing wrong, since the money was meant to be shared between them.
Court hearings to settle the matter began on Tuesday, August 14, and are expected to last for four days.
The mother and son opened a joint account in 2007, and deposited a total of S$1.2 million in it. Later on, they divided this amount into seven different joint accounts.
Ms. Alwi claims that all the money is actually hers, while her son says that his father, from whom the money came, meant it to be shared between the two. But the mother has asked the courts for permission to withdraw what remains of the original deposit of US $849,581.36. This is necessary since the accounts were frozen in 2014 because mother and son gave the banks instructions for the accounts wherein they contradicted each other.
Furthermore, Ms. Alwi is asking her son to provide an accounting for the S$500,000 that she claims he misappropriated, as well as to give back jewelry that she had reportedly put in his hands for safekeeping.
The son says that the withdrawals made from the accounts were decisions he and his mother made together and that he has papers that Ms. Alwi signed that proves this. He also said that he has already passed the jewelry from Ms. Alwi to his wife and daughters.
Mother and son came into the money after Hassan Arifin, Ms. Alwi’s husband who passed away in 2010, sold a certain property. After the sale they decided to deposit the funds in Singapore.
Ms. Alwi says that her husband desired to give her the money from the sale as a gift, and that their son had told her that it was good to open a joint account with him, so he could help her manage the money.
She claims to have found out in 2014 that her son had misappropriated money from the accounts.
Her son claims his innocence, because he was entitled to half of the funds, and says that the money he was supposed to have misappropriated were actually reimbursements for medical, travel and other expenses his father had incurred over several years. He had sought reimbursement after finding out that two of his younger brothers had been asking their mother for financial assistance.
Two years ago, when Mr. Arifin admitted that his mother had the right to at least half of the money, the courts allowed Mrs. Alwi to withdraw half of the funds that remained in the account.
When last checked, there was $152,000 remaining in the joint accounts of Ms. Alwi and Mr. Arifin.