Channel News Asia reports,
CHC leaders aware of possible CBT charge over Xtron dealings
On the second day of the City Harvest trial, the prosecution said the church leaders were aware of the prospect of committing criminal breach of trust over the Xtron dealings.
SINGAPORE: On the second day of the City Harvest trial, the prosecution said the church leaders were aware of the prospect of committing criminal breach of trust (CBT) over the Xtron dealings.
On Tuesday, the court heard Choong Kar Weng, director of Xtron Productions, had asked City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee in an email if there would be a case of CBT over their dealings.
The court heard how Mr Choong raised his concerns in an email dated March 31, 2010, citing the complicated relationship between the two entities.
In the email, Mr Choong laid out the links between Xtron, the church and the church’s investment company AMAC over the years.
Xtron is the former management company of singer Sun Ho, who is also Kong Hee’s wife. It is allegedly one of three firms used by the six CHC leaders to commit their offences.
Mr Choong said from 2007 to 2009, the relationship between Xtron and the church was one of lessor and lessee but things got complicated after that.
He went on to say how “the close proximity between Xtron and CHC” will lead some people to “draw the inference that Xtron is financing Sun Ho’s albums”.
Mr Choong then went on to paint the “worst case scenario”. He asked if there would be criminal breach of trust if authorities were to look at the parties as one entity.
However, Mr Choong said he did not think anyone is guilty of the offence because the way the church’s funds were used was “all within the powers of the Management Board”.
Still, the long-time church member cautioned that if some members refuse to accept “any explanation” and “bring a civil action against Pastor (Kong Hee) and the Management Board”, it will be very public.
Mr Choong’s bottomline was that it was important to prove that the church “is not disadvantaged throughout all these transactions”.
As at end March 2010, the total losses incurred from producing singer Sun Ho’s album was S$18.6 million.
Xtron accumulated losses totalling some S$14 million.
In the email, Mr Choong pointed out that there was a need “to fill up Xtron’s losses and to determine the fate of Xtron”.
He singled out Tan Ye Peng and Chew Eng Han, both of whom are also on trial, as having “come up with a plan to wipe out Xtron’s losses for the album project (Ho’s album), as well as repay the church’s advance rental”.
Earlier in the day, the prosecution alleged that accused Serina Wee, Chew Eng Han and Tan Ye Peng took pains to plan and hide information from church members.
Mr Choong also testified that he trusted Serina Wee and believed she would not make decisions detrimental to his company.
Kong Hee, John Lam, Chew Eng Han, Tan Ye Peng and Serina Wee allegedly misused S$24 million of church building funds by channelling the money into two companies, Xtron and PT the First National Glassware (Firna), in what has been described as “sham bond investments”. This allegedly took place between January 2007 and October 2008.
A second set of charges involves Chew Eng Han, Tan Ye Peng, Serina Wee and Sharon Tan, who are said to have misappropriated some S$26 million to cover up the first sum.
The funds were allegedly used to boost the music career of Sun Ho.
Source: Claire Huang, CHC leaders aware of possible CBT charge over Xtron dealings, Channel News Asia, http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/chc-leaders-aware-of/792328.html, 28 Aug 2013 12:11 AM. (Accessed 29/08/2013.)