The founder of a Singapore mega-church has been found guilty taking millions in donations from the church.
It has been reported that Kong Hee, the founder and senior pastor of City Harvest Church, used donations to support his wife’s singing career in Asia before helping her break into the US market for evangelisation purposes.
Kong Hee was found guilty with five other church leaders of stealing 24 million Singapore dollars (around £11 million).
The State Court also found that the leaders used another 26 million dollars (around £12 million) to hide the first embezzlement from auditors.
Presiding judge See Kee Onn, after he found Kong guilty on three counts of criminal breach of trust, said: “They were not genuine transactions because the accused persons controlled these transactions.”
“Evidence points to a finding that they knew they were acting dishonestly, and I am unable to conclude otherwise.”
Cases like this are rare in Singapore and church-goers had queued since the early hours to get a seat in the court.
Kong Hee’s supporters say funds were used correctly to use pop music to reach non-Christians through a Crossover Project.
Kong Hee’s wife Ho Yeow Sun is the face of that campaign.
She has released five Mandarin albums in Taiwan and broke into the US market in 2003.
The church has a congregation of around 17,500 people.
The penalty for criminal breach of trust is a maximum of a life sentence, and for falsifying accounts, the penalty is a maximum of 10 years in jail and a fine.
The case first began in 2012.
Four other people were found guilty of additional charges for falsifying the church’s accounts.
A fifth member was also found guilty on three counts of criminal breach of trust.
No date for sentencing has yet been set.