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Asian church founder arrested for $17+ million swindle

A two-year investigation has culminated in a series of arrests and a court appearance today.

  • Singapore
  • June 27, 2012
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The founder of one of Singapore's richest churches has been arrested on allegations he misused at least £11.5 million (US$ 17,979,987) in donations from his congregation of more than 30,000.

Pastor Kong Hee and four senior executives of the City Harvest Church – a Christian group registered as a charity – were arrested by Singapore's Commercial Affairs Department, a police unit set up to fight financial crime.

Officials said they were suspected of diverting at least Sg$23 million earmarked for charitable projects and spent money on a bid by the pastor's wife, Ho Yeow Sun, to launch an evangelical music career in the United States.

The church, which has affiliates in neighbouring Malaysia and other countries, is famous for services that resemble pop concerts.

All five, who are out on bail, have also been suspended from their church positions.

Pastor Kong and his wife, whose whereabouts were unknown, became minor celebrities in Singapore for launching the church, which authorities estimate had a congregation of about 33,000 and net assets of Sg$103 million in 2009.

In a post on popular Twitter on Tuesday morning, Kong tweeted a Bible Psalm in Mandarin saying God will protect him from evil.

Full Story: Singapore church founder 'misused £11.5 million in donations'

Source: The Telegraph
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