Singapore — A wealthy businessman from China who plied his former mistress with gifts before and during their relationship has sued successfully to get back S$12.7 million he had transferred to her while they were together.

Mr Xu Zhigang, who is married, had transferred to his former mistress, Ms Wang Fang, a flight attendant, a significant amount of money during their relationship.

And while High Court Justice Audrey Lim accepted his claim that the amount of S$12.7 million he had transferred to her account was for her to hold on to temporarily while his Chinese businesses were in financial trouble, the judge said that the S$4 million he had given her to buy a condominium unit and a car had been gifts, which the former mistress was allowed by the court to keep.

Mr Xu, who is in his 40s and formerly a main shareholder of Eastport Petrochemical (Singapore), and Ms Fang met during a flight in 2011. They began their relationship in 2014, staying together until November 2017.

But even before they started their affair, he already gave her gifts as well as access to his S$20,000 monthly salary through an ATM card.

And after they got together in February 2014, he gave her a birthday present of a S$3 million condominium unit at The Interlace, a 24-storey private condominium in Depot Road, off Alexandra Road in Bukit Merah, as well as her choice of a Mercedes-Benz.

In addition to the condo unit and the car, Ms Wang was given a job in Mr Xu’s firm. Between April 2014 and June 2016 she received a salary of S$10,000 monthly for no apparent substantial work, according to a report in the

He also transferred money to her account twice, in July 2014 and February 2015, for a total of S$12.9 million.

In 2019, he sued to get back this amount, along with the condo unit and Mercedes-Benz, saying that these assets were only being held in trust for him by Ms Wang.

She, on the other hand, said that everything he had given her had been gifts, and did not agree to their return.

Mr Xu said he bought the car for his own use for meeting clients in Singapore and that while he allowed Ms Wang to drive it, the vehicle had not been purchased for her. He also said that he bought the condo unit to raise her living standards since he thought of her as his sister.

The car and condo unit were registered in Ms Wang’s name. Mr Xu said that this had been done for it to be convenient for her to arrange administrative matters for these assets.

However, while Justice Lim accepted his explanations concerning the money he transferred to her account in order to protect his business in China, she said his clarification regarding the condo unit and car were not convincing, and Ms Wang was allowed to keep these assets. /TISG