City Harvest trial: Worst-case scenario planned for Ho Yeow Sun's foray into the US

City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and his wife, Sun Ho, arrive at the court on Tuesday, Sept 10, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW 
City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and his wife, Sun Ho, arrive at the court on Tuesday, Sept 10, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW 

City Harvest founder Kong Hee and his deputies had looked at worst-case scenarios if pop-singer Ho Yeow Sun's planned first English album did not do well, defence lawyers said on Tuesday.

This was part of their argument that Kong and the other church members had done their due diligence in making sure that Ms Ho's album project in the United States was viable financially and potential losses were minimal.

If Ms Ho's album revenues were only a third of what American producers had projected, the shortfall in the church's bond investments would only be $3.4 million. This could easily be repaid by Indonesian businessman and church member Wahju Hanafi, whose firm was responsible for the bond repayment, the defence said.

Kong had also asked for external lawyers and the church's auditors to vet the various transactions at the heart of the ongoing criminal trial against him and five of his deputies. This was shown in an email produced by his lawyer Edwin Tong. Mr Tong had earlier produced more emails to show that Kong had probed American producer Justin Herz to make sure the financial projections about Ms Ho's US music career were realistic and achievable.

Kong and the other five accused were charged last year with misusing about $50 million in church funds to finance Ms Ho's music career and to cover this up.