British Columbia, Canada – Neurologist Gobinathan Devathasan, 69, is not only facing multimillion-dollar divorce costs but must also provide monthly alimony amounting to C$100,000 (S$101,310) and give $14 million (S$19million) worth of assets to his wife after a ruling in British Columbia’s Supreme Court on April 29, 2019.
Dr Devathasan has been called “reprehensible” and “richly deserving of rebuke” by the Court for hiding his assets, disowning his daughter via a letter to her school, refusing to cooperate with court-appointed experts, not complying with asset freezes, and saying the judge in his Canadian divorce case had “spread her legs wide” for his wife’s lawyer.
The doctor “accused the Justice of this Court who had made the asset freezing order and ordered that he pay interim support, of bias and gross judicial misconduct [without any basis], even suggesting that she had ‘spread her legs wide’ to the claimant’s counsel,” said Justice Geoffrey Gomery who was referring to colleague Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick.
Tagged by The Straits Times as one of the biggest divorce cases involving an “uncommonly wealthy” Singaporean couple abroad, over S$52 million worth of assets located in Canada, Singapore, the US, Malaysia, and Thailand are at stake.
The couple met at the wards of Singapore General Hospital in 1984. Ms Christie Devathasan, a former nurse and model, and Gobinathan Devathasan, former head of neurology at the National University Hospital, began an affair while married to other people at that time. They then remarried in 1997 and had a son and a daughter while together.
In 2003, the family moved to Canada under the immigrant investor programme for millionaire migrants. Dr Devathasan, however, moved back to Singapore for work.
Justice Gomery noted the couples’ “luxurious lifestyle” which included expensive vehicles, extravagant holidays around the world, houses, watches, and C$100,000 (S$101,310) in Persian rugs.
The breakdown of asset proportioning
The doctor was ordered to pay his wife a lump sum amount of C$5.5 million (S$5.5million) for spousal support, including the C$100,000 (S$101,310) monthly payments until August 2024 when the case could be reassessed.
Dr Devathasan was also told to provide C$612,084 (S$620,000) for child support and C$2.4 million (S$2.5 million) to equalize the division of assets.
Ms Devathasan is set to receive a total of C$16.4 million in assets including a house in West Vancouver (C$6.3 million), a Florida apartment (C$ 2.5 million), a ranch, a ski chalet, and four luxury vehicles inclusive of a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, according to a report by the South China Morning Post.
Meanwhile, Dr Devathasan will keep C$21.4 million (S$21.6 million) in assets which includes seven homes in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, his practice in Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre valued at C$8 million (S$8 million), watches worth C$160,000 (S$162,0000 and a Maserati car.
In 2017 via an affidavit, the doctor said, “I will not pay a dollar for alimony now or till death or whatever any one decrees no matter what.”
“I have sworn I will pay my ashes only,” he added.
Justice Gomery noted that the doctor has now promised to abide by the court rulings although there “is at least a risk that he will change his mind again.”
The judge mentioned how the divorce had torn the family apart, particularly Devathasan’s relationship with his teenage daughter after he sent a letter to her high school disowning her.
He also cancelled a C$480,000 (S$486,000) deposit on a West Vancouver house he purchased with his son because the latter had sided with his mother in the divorce.
Ms Devathasan’s lawyer Lorne MacLean said that his client wished for privacy on the case while Mr Devathasan’s lawyer, Mark Perry, is currently acquiring permission from his client to discuss case matters.
Details of the divorce will be finalised in a month.