SINGAPORE - Church founder Kong Hee and five of his deputies were charged last year with conspiring to cheat City Harvest Church (CHC) of millions of dollars.
They had allegedly misused $24 million of church funds to bankroll the music career of Kong's pop-singer wife Ho Yeow Sun, and purportedly took another $26 million to cover up the first amount.
Xtron, a production house that used to manage Ms Ho's music career, has been accused of acting as a conduit to divert church funds.
Its director and longtime church member Choong Kar Weng was the first witness for the second part of the trial, which is scheduled to last about a month.
Mr Choong, a Malaysian citizen holding permanent residency status here, is also director of Macy Home Furnishings, a company based in Malaysia, and Christian bookstore Attributes, another CHC-linked company.
Although he was called to the bar in Singapore, he is no longer a practising lawyer.
On Monday, Mr Choong said in court he had been invited by founder Kong Hee to become director of Xtron, a position he has been holding since Dec 31, 2005.
Before that, he said he had been invited by Kong to become a board member of the church because he was "legally trained" and "could add some value to the board at the time".
Mr Choong has been attending the church since 1995 and used to be a cell group leader. He stepped down as a board member in 2004 and is currently an executive member.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.