Kong Hee 'was looking for money to back wife'

Kong Hee 'was looking for money to back wife'

SINGAPORE - "Let's plan as if the sky is the limit and then work out how we are going to get the funds," City Harvest founder Kong Hee said in 2005 of launching his wife Ho Yeow Sun's pop music career in the US.

He was replying in an e-mail to American music producer Justin Herz.

The two had earlier discussed whether to do a US$1.5 million "top-class album and promotion" for Ms Ho or to stick to a US$400,000 budget.

On Wednesday, prosecutors produced this e-mail to try to refute a claim by its witness, Indonesian businessman and church member Wahju Hanafi, that his former firm, Xtron Productions, which managed Ms Ho, did not simply pour money into the endeavour as if it was a "bottomless pit".

They also pointed to other e-mail messages Kong had written to try and show that contrary to his lawyer's claims, he was intimately involved in looking for money for his wife's career.

But Mr Hanafi fingered former church investment manager Chew Eng Han instead, saying he was the financial mastermind behind the US project.

Kong and five of his deputies were charged last year with misusing about $50 million in church funds to bankroll Ms Ho's career and to cover this up.

Earlier this week, Kong's lawyer Edwin Tong sought to show that the megachurch founder had his hands only in the vision but not the financing of the Crossover Project, which uses Ms Ho's secular music to evangelise.

When asked on Wednesday who was really involved in financing the project, Mr Hanafi said: "The key person is really Eng Han."

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