Thursday, 28 June 2012

Documents throw light on web of transactions

Millions allegedly used to cover up series of 'sham' bond investments

1 comment:

Guanyu 道 said...

Documents throw light on web of transactions

Millions allegedly used to cover up series of 'sham' bond investments

By Leonard Lim
28 June 2012

Court documents yesterday shed more light on the elaborate web of transactions carried out to hide the alleged siphoning of funds by City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and others in his inner circle.

Six transactions, which apparently channelled money from the church's building fund into furthering the music career of Kong's pop singer wife Sun Ho or to cover up past deals, were detailed.

The alleged offences - to help a celebrity who has a US$20,000 (S$25,000) a month Hollywood Hills mansion and four No.1 hits on the Billboard dance charts - allegedly took place between August 2007 and November 2009.

Sun's artist management firm Xtron Productions and PT The First National Glassware (Firna), a decorative glassware firm owned by a City Harvest member, were said to have received millions for purported investment in their bonds.

First, a total of $10 million was disbursed to Xtron between Aug 23, 2007 and Jan 2, 2008; another $3 million went out from the church to it on or about March 5, 2008.

Xtron was founded in 2003 by Chew Eng Han, one of the five charged yesterday. The firm supplies City Harvest with video and audio equipment and acts on behalf of the mega church in its rental lease agreements.

Firna is owned by Singapore permanent resident and Indonesian businessman Wahju Hanafi, who has declared his loyalty to City Harvest in his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Between Oct 6, 2008 and June19, 2009, a total of $11 million was allegedly transferred to this firm.

The prosecution said yesterday that the 'sham transactions' were purportedly devised to conceal the diversion of money into furthering Sun's career.

The total apparently siphoned to Xtron and Firna amounted to $24 million, and constituted criminal breach of trust (CBT) offences, said the prosecution.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong called a second set of CBT offences 'round-tripping'. These comprised a complex set of transactions carried out between October and November 2009, aimed at wiping the purported bond investments off the church's accounts by using church funds to repay the suMs. owed to itself. This covering of the money trail took place after City Harvest's auditor raised questions about the investments.

First, about $15.2 million was allegedly disbursed to Xtron, under the guise of an 'advance rental'.

Next, payments of $5.8 million and $5.6 million were made to Amac Capital Partners' special opportunities fund as 'investments'. Chew, 52, was Amac director in 2007.

Together, the value of the three 'round-tripping' transactions totalled $26.6 million.

The other three charged yesterday were Kong's deputy Tan Ye Peng, church finance manager Sharon Tan Shao Yuen and board member John Lam Leng Hung.

All the accused face varying counts of CBT, while those involved in the 'round-tripping' - Tan Ye Peng, Sharon Tan and Chew - were also slapped with four charges each of falsifying the church's accounts.

The prosecution said this was to create the impression that the bond investments in Xtron and Firna had been either fully redeemed, or set off against purported advance rental payments.

Court documents also named other individuals who have yet to be charged:

Ex-finance manager Serina Wee Gek Yin, 36, who is cited in all the charge sheets;

The church's assistant accountant Dua Poh Ting;

Mr. Hanafi, who is also a director of Xtron.