In court today, defendant John Lam explained the limited extent to which he was involved in Xtron and Firna bond matters.
In his opening submissions yesterday, defense lawyer for John Lam, Senior Counsel Kenneth Tan, said that the prosecution’s case is that “Mr John Lam was part of a plan, an unholy design, to dishonestly misuse church funds to personally benefit Sun Ho.”
He then went on to show the limited extent of Lam’s involvement over the last two days. This afternoon, Tan took the court through multiple email correspondences among the accused including Kong Hee, Tan Ye Peng and Serina Wee to show the court that Lam’s involvement in the Xtron and Firna bonds as well as Xtron’s purchase of the church’s Riverwalk property—“sham” investments, according to the prosecution—was, at best, peripheral.
Tan pointed out that Lam “seems to be suddenly asked to attend this meeting, suddenly asked to look at this email and, if you look at the email in detail, there are these plans which he was not part of.”
For example, with regards to the meeting between Wee, Tan and Lam with Foong Daw Ching from Baker Tilly on Aug 1, 2008, Lam testified that he was only notified of it a few hours in advance. He was thereafter not part of the email discussions among several of the accused who were present at the meeting. When asked for a plausible reason why he was not in the email loop, Lam replied that the reason was likely that the topics of discussion did not include asset impairment and accounting issues, the two aspects he was specifically tasked to assist with.
More Revealed About Riverwalk And Firna Bonds
This afternoon’s proceedings also revealed some fresh details surrounding Xtron’s purchase of the Riverwalk property, which the prosecution claims to be merely part of an elaborate round-tripping scheme to cover up “sham” investments in the Xtron bonds.
Firstly, pertaining to the purchase of the Riverwalk property by Xtron, Lam explained to the court today that the church’s lease of a space in the building was coming to an end, and that the landlord was going to increase the rent. At the time, the church was using the Riverwalk space for prayer meetings, Bible study sessions and leaders’ meetings.
When attempts to renegotiate the lease fell through, fund manager Chew Eng Han mooted the idea that Xtron buy Riverwalk, during a board members’ discussion in May 2008. Lam disagreed with the idea as he deemed the price too high. Subsequently, the price decreased, and plans to purchase Riverwalk were put in motion.
Today, Lam also testified that the church’s investment committee had in fact met with several financial institutions, namely Goldman Sachs, DBS and UBS to execute the Firna bond transactions, but decided to stick with its fund manager AMAC Capital Partners in the end because it was “more suitable.”
Court resumes at 9:30am tomorrow.
中文报道 – CHC审讯：林对债券的参与仅限于会计事宜