CHC leaders' trial: E-mail trail in the spotlight

CHC leaders' trial: E-mail trail in the spotlight
Prosecution witness Mr Wahju Hanafi (left) has been linked to accused (clockwise from right) Serina Wee, Chew Eng Han, Kong Hee and Tan Ye Peng.

One second is all it takes to press the send button and fire off an e-mail or mobile phone message.

But that electronic dispatch lives on for much, much longer.

And years later, it can be submitted as evidence in court, as in the City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders' trial, where founder Kong Hee and five others are accused of misusing more than $50 million of church funds through sham bonds.

Their defence lawyers are arguing that there was no wrongdoing as the bond investments are common business practices.

But the way the money was channelled through a series of church-linked companies was dishonest, the prosecution countered.

As the courtroom drama plays out, e-mail and text message exchanges have been highlighted to detail the alleged insider knowledge about fund movement among the accused.

For instance, the prosecution pointed to e-mail exchanges from accused Serina Wee, who called investment gains from transactions "our money", which contradicted Indonesian tycoon Wahju Hanafi's stance that the funds were under his control.

The New Paper understands that about 100 pieces of digital evidence have been submitted so far. We follow the electronic trail.



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