Singapore starts trial of church leaders accused of embezzling $40 million to fund pop star

SINGAPORE – Singapore opened a long-anticipated corruption trial of six church leaders accused of embezzling more than $40 million to finance the pop music career of the wife of their evangelical movement’s founder.

City Harvest Church faithful queued at a Singapore court overnight and packed the public gallery to show support for church leaders who prosecutors say diverted the congregation’s funds into “sham” investments to advance the career of aspiring star Ho Yeow Sun, popularly known as Sun Ho.

The church with affiliates in neighbouring Malaysia and other countries is said to be one of Singapore’s richest and biggest, with membership of over 30,000.

It is known in region for staging large-scale, elaborate services resembling pop concerts which are conducted by Ho’s husband, Pastor Kong Hee.