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Leonard Lim from the Straits Times reported the court hearing on Wednesday, the 27th of June:

“City Harvest Church’s Kong Hee and four others were charged on Wednesday with allegedly siphoning church money, amid fresh revelations that they conspired to cheat the church of over $50 million.

It emerged on Wednesday that $26.6 million was allegedly used to cover up an initial $24 million which they had taken from the church’s building fund and put into sham investments.

These investments in turn were actually being used to finance the music career of Kong’s wife Ho Yeow Sun…

On Wednesday, court documents showed that this alleged conspiracy was carried out through bond investments in two companies…

The prosecution revealed on Wednesday – to a courtroom packed with nearly 200 City Harvest members and supporters – that a second series of transactions was allegedly devised to misappropriate a further $26.6 million.

The prosecution said: ‘These further monies were circulated… to create the false appearance that the purported sham bond investments had been redeemed, when in fact the ‘redemption’ had been financed using these further monies misappropriated from church funds.’

This ’round-tripping’ meant that more of City Harvest’s building fund cash was used to repay the sums owed to itself.

The $26.6 million cover-up bid came about after the church’s auditor had raised questions about the purported bond investments…

Like Kong, who is represented by Edwin Tong of Allen & Gledhill, church management board member John Lam Leng Hung, 44, faces three similar charges.

The others charged – Kong’s deputy Tan Ye Peng, 39; church finance manager Sharon Tan Shao Yuen, 36; and investment manager Chew Eng Han, 52 – were slapped with more charges.

Chew and Tan Ye Peng each face 10 charges – six for criminal breach of trust and four for falsifying accounts.

Sharon Tan was charged with four counts of falsifying accounts and three for committing criminal breach of trust as an agent.

The first offence draws a maximum of 10 years’ jail, and or a fine. The second, which Kong’s charges come under, is punishable with a life sentence, or jail of up to 20 years and a fine…

The total sum of $50.6 million that the five conspired to cheat the church of makes the City Harvest case the biggest financial scandal involving a registered charity. It eclipses the $12 million that the National Kidney Foundation sued Mr T. T. Durai and three others for, and the $50,000 unauthorised loan Ren Ci hospital’s Ming Yi was jailed for.” – Leonard Lim, The Straits Times, http://www.straitstimes.com/The-Big-Story/The-Big-Story-1/Story/STIStory_815914.html, City Harvest case: Allegedly total of $50m misused, Published on Jun 28, 2012. (Accessed: 28/06/2012.)

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