City Harvest trial: Evidence 'taken out of context'

City Harvest trial: Evidence 'taken out of context'

ABOUT THE CASE

City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and five deputies are on trial for allegedly misusing more than $50 million of church funds through sham bonds.

This includes $24 million to fund Kong's pop singer-wife Sun Ho's music career and another $26.6 million to cover up the first amount.

The six face varying charges for criminal breach of trust (CBT) and/or falsifying accounts.

Those found guilty of committing CBT can be jailed for life or a maximum of 20 years and fined on each charge.

Those found guilty of falsifying accounts can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each charge.

FOUNDER KONG HEE (Represented by Edwin Tong)

While he had initiated the Crossover Project (a mission to evangelise using pop music) and is married to singer Sun Ho (the face of the project), these were non-controversial facts known to all in City Harvest Church (CHC).

The prosecution was asking the court to "draw inferences of conspiracy on facts which are completely innocuous", lawyer Edwin Tong said.

For instance, Kong's role in making general decisions and his involvement in Crossover were known even to the auditors. But the prosecution had taken the "sporadic evidence" out of context to show he had control, especially over the finances.

None of what was disclosed "even allows a reasonable inference to be drawn" that Kong had agreed to do anything illegal "in a conspiracy with one or more of the alleged co-conspirators", Mr Tong added.

The fact that Kong had repeatedly asked auditors and lawyers to go through the bond agreements also undermined any reasonable inference that he intended to be dishonest.

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