A multimillion-dollar scandal involving a Christian pastor, his singer wife and a glamorous financial executive has gripped Singapore, with allegations of fraud and tantalising glimpses into the expensive process of making a pop star.
Kong Hee, 47, the pastor and founder of the 20,000-strong City Harvest Church, is on trial alongside five other church officials for an alleged scheme to siphon off Sg$24 million ($19 million) to finance the singing career of his wife Sun Ho.
The accused allegedly misappropriated another Sg$26 million to cover up the original diversion.
Ho, 41, an established Mandarin pop singer who co-founded the evangelical megachurch with her husband in 1989, moved to Los Angeles in 2009 to launch an English-language singing career before the scandal scuttled her showbiz ambitions.
She does not face any charges herself, appearing stoically with her husband for his court appearances as her music videos continue to draw hits on video-sharing site YouTube.
The video for her song “China Wine” — in which she dances in a nightclub alongside the rapper Wyclef Jean — has attracted more than one million views so far.
In another video, the reggae-tinged “Mr Bill”, she plays a skimpily-clad Asian wife who calls herself a geisha and sings about killing her African-American husband, played by the male supermodel Tyson Beckford.
Ho also posed for numerous pictures at exclusive events with American celebrities as part of her image-building campaign.
Evidence reportedly produced in court showed that the church had earmarked more than US$10 million as its marketing budget — “in line with Shakira’s marketing budget and less than the budget for Beyonce” — to boost her Hollywood foray. see more