SINGAPORE - IT'S up to me how I want to spend my money, Indonesian tycoon Wahju Hanafi, 53, told the court on Wednesday at the trial of the City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders.
The six, including founder Kong Hee, are accused of using sham bonds to finance his wife, pop singer Sun Ho's career.
Mr Wahju (in photo above) uttered that phrase about his money several times on Wednesday.
In e-mail exchanges, produced in court, it was revealed that when the Indonesian businessman received a request for a donation to buy Ms Ho an apartment in New York, he said no.
Former finance manager Serina Wee had asked him to transfer $2.2 million to buy the property for Ms Ho while she was recording and working in the US city.
Mr Wahju told the court: "That was supposed to be a place for her to stay, maybe, rather than renting a place. It's something she (Wee) wants to instruct me to donate, but I didn't do it."
Wee later clarified in subsequent e-mail that the $2.2 million for the New York apartment should come from Ultimate Assets - the company managing Ms Ho - and not from Mr Wahju.
So why did Mr Wahju say no?
"I just didn't want to buy somebody a house... I can rent her a house, a unit, a flat, an apartment," he said. "But I needed the money more than her at that time."
He explained he had been suffering losses and the 2008 downturn made things worse. It put him in a difficult position, forcing him to sell his Singapore properties.
That's because at the peak of the recession, banks started asking people to top up their loans to cover against their property values going down.