On his second day on the stand, Chew Eng Han raised issues already dealt with at length over the course of this trial, providing his own take.
A sense of déjà vu descended upon Court 1 today as former City Harvest fund manager proceeded to bring up topics that had been covered extensively in previous examinations-in-chief, cross-examination and re-examinations.
Among these were the “no church funds used” turn of phrase, the China First Day covers and co-defendant Kong Hee’s budget spreadsheets for the US Crossover.
“We had a relationship,” Chew insisted, reading an email from Ho in which she said she was praying for Chew’s then-sick daughter. He also cited an email in which Kong had asked Chew, among others, to pray for Ho’s audition for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Chew sought to demonstrate that it was a close relationship that had existed between himself and Kong and Ho.
He later concluded that he might have been mistaken about the closeness of that relationship.
Much of the day played out like proceedings in a divorce court, with Chew expressing repeatedly his disappointment with and growing mistrust of his former senior pastor and the success of Ho’s career.
However, a few matters pertaining to the charges did surface.
The Xtron bonds that are central to the City Harvest Trial were explained by Chew Eng Han this morning in an attempt to establish that his structuring them was not part of a conspiracy.
Among other things, the former fund manager of CHC explained that even though the Xtron bonds were unquoted bonds, he had managed to get Deutsche Bank to hold the bonds in custody and keep their bond certificates. In addition, he had ordered that the bank see three signatories and a letter from his firm, AMAC, before releasing the funds to Xtron in drawdowns.
Chew said that there was no need to do this, but by doing so, he was protecting the church. If the bonds were sham, he would never have asked the bank to hold the bonds in custody.
Seeking to clarify why CHC’s board was willing to invest in Xtron bonds, Chew was of the opinion that CHC has “always” had a high-risk appetite. Moreover, the team was confident that the Crossover Project that Xtron was managing was profitable, or they would not have taken the risk either.
The risk was also worth taking because it had a mission’s component – the funds would go to fulfilling the mission of the church.
Chew went on to explain that all investments are risky, even the best ones. No matter what you buy, he said, there are ups and downs; unexpected things happen and if there was a loss, he would tell the members openly. There was nothing to hide.
Later in the day, Chew described the nature of his involvement as fund manager handling the investments into the Crossover Project.
Ultimately, his actions were based on his trust in the honor and integrity of Kong Hee and Sun Ho, Chew told the court.
He was confident that Ho’s work in the Crossover Project was blessed by God, judging by the doors that were opening in her favor, which included meetings with actor Jackie Chan and the invitation to sing at the Beijing Olympics.
Such was his trust and confidence in Kong and his wife that he was ready to hire private investigators to track down the bloggers writing hurtful and negative insinuations about Ho online, he declared.
Chew told the court that his trust had been misplaced, and that Ho’s success as a pop singer was not what it was made out to be.
He introduced a new piece of document. He told the court his wife, writing as a representative of AMAC, had written to the China Children and Teenagers Fund to ask if CCTF had awarded first day covers or souvenir stamps to Sun Ho. According to Chew, the organization denied knowledge of this.
Kong’s lawyer Jason Chan stood up and asked if efforts had been made to contact the sender of the document to ensure the veracity of the contents of the email. The court decided it was a matter to be dealt with in submission.
At the heart of Chew’s defense today, he explained that he could not have been conspiring to create sham investments because he had fully believed in Ho’s positive track record, rendering the Crossover Project to be a sound investment.
Court resumes tomorrow at 9.30am.
中文报道 – 城市丰收审讯：前基金经理宣泄个人不满情绪