Investment in singer Sun Ho 'carefully planned'

Investment in singer Sun Ho 'carefully planned'
Kong and his wife Ho Yeow Sun at the court on Monday. Defence lawyers argued that the bonds were not sham investments.

SINGAPORE - Much thought had gone into crafting Ms Ho Yeow Sun's foray into the American music market over at least four years, including styling her in the vein of Britney Spears and Alicia Keys.

City Harvest Church's investments into her career via her former management company Xtron Productions were carefully planned to make sure they were viable, argued defence lawyers on Monday.

They had been trying to refute the prosecution's claims that the bonds the church had bought in two companies - Xtron and Firna - were done so without any care for whether the money could be recovered, as they were sham investments.

Church founder Kong Hee's lawyer Edwin Tong cited several e-mail messages between Kong and American music producer Justin Herz from 2003 to 2006, detailing precise discussions about promoting Ms Ho's singles in the United States.

They showed Kong had questions about costs and Ms Ho's possible career success while also listing concerns from Xtron lawyers and directors about the investment.

In a 2005 e-mail, Kong asked Mr Herz: "How much will Xtron financial portion be?... How much will they recoup on their investment and when?"

In another sent in 2003, he asked Mr Herz: "Is there truly a realistic chance for her to break into the American Dance Billboard? If yes, what is your gut feeling of 'when' and 'how far' would she go up on the chart?"

Mr Tong produced the e-mail messages during cross-examination of Indonesian businessman Wahju Hanafi, a former director of Xtron and owner of glassware company Firna.

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