News

'Transaction should remain discreet'

The City Harvest Church (CHC) board did not want links between the church and Ultimate Assets (UA), the company that manages Sun Ho's music career, to be made public, according to Sharon Tan's testimony yesterday.

But they were almost forced to do so when their auditor started to ask questions about CHC's investments.

Earlier, the same auditor had wanted the church to clear or sell off its $32.5 million bonds from Xtron and Firna.

To redeem the $11 million bond issued by Firna, the church board decided on an elaborate plan, said Tan.

It first involved using funds from CHC to invest $11.4 million in former fund manager Chew Eng Han's company, Amac Capital Partners.

This investment was known as the Special Opportunities Fund (SOF).

The same amount of money would then be loaned to UA, which would then lend the money to Firna to redeem the bonds from CHC.

AUDITOR

Tan said the church's auditor, Mr Sim Guan Seng, had asked why so much money was invested into Amac, which was a small company.

Mr Sim then asked for an explanation about the SOF and what the money was used for, she added.

But Chew was unwilling to explain fully, Tan claimed.

"UA holds the artiste management contract of Sun Ho. If this information was disclosed, I was concerned that Mr Sim may want to call for a (public) disclosure because it is related to the church," said Tan.

"It will lead to questions about the whole funding of the Crossover Project, which the church leaders would prefer not to have... The whole transaction should remain discreet."

Evidence handed to the court showed Chew saying in an e-mail to CHC's audit committee: "Try to steer away from the topic of what SOF invests in. The $11.4 million was all (loaned) to UA and we don't want that to surface, okay?"