Tycoon wanted to give real estate as 'love gift' to Kong Hee

Tycoon wanted to give real estate as 'love gift' to Kong Hee

SINGAPORE - THERE was talk of love gifts like a Sentosa condo, expensive weddings and sponsorships so pop singer Ho Yeow Sun could receive bonuses.

All these emerged in court on Tuesday as the trial of the City Harvest six accused of using sham bonds to finance Ms Ho's career continued.

The prosecution pulled up dramatic details in e-mails to show the relationship between City Harvest Church (CHC) and production company Xtron Productions.

LOVE GIFT

Indonesian tycoon Wahju Hanafi (in photo above) wanted to give CHC founder Kong Hee something different. So he came up with the idea of offering real estate, namely an Oceanfront condo in Sentosa, around 2007.

Mr Wahju said: "I normally bless Pastor Kong every year with a love offering and I was thinking this year, that instead of me giving him a love offering, maybe I give him the opportunity to own this business (the Sentosa property)."

The former director of Xtron - the company that used to manage Ms Ho - owned a number of units in Sentosa and had made a lot of money previously.

For example, he sold a penthouse there for more than $5 million.

He thought Kong might like to make some money for the church.

"I mean, our pastors are also business-minded as well," Mr Wahju had said when explaining why the church had decided to charge him 7 per cent interest for a $674,700 loan.

So he told Kong to buy one unit at $1,800 per sq ft. Since Mr Wahju had previously sold his Sentosa penthouse for $2,300 per sq ft, that would work out to an upfront profit of $500 per sq ft, he reasoned.

With a bank loan, each man would pay about $17,000 monthly.

Then trouble happened when the economic downturn came in 2008 and they couldn't sell the unit. They are still stuck with it, Mr Wahju said.

A check online showed a 4,510 sq ft Oceanfront penthouse in Sentosa going for about $11.3 million.



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