City Harvest Church pastor Kong Hee has put up for sale a co-owned $10 million luxury penthouse in Sentosa Cove, Singapore, amid an ongoing trial concerning the possible misuse of over $19 million in church funds to finance his wife's music career. Kong has hit back against a report describing the penthouse, calling it "misleading and exaggerated."
Kong explained that his family has sold other properties as well to help pay their attorneys' fees.
"The property that my family and I have been living in is co-owned with another family. We have been living at this property with the co-owner's kind permission after we had to sell our properties in order to pay the legal expenses for the ongoing trial," the pastor said in a Facebook post, responding to a Straits Times article from earlier this week.
He also clarified that the families have been trying to sell the property for some time.
According to the ST report, an anonymous investor who has visited the penthouse described it as "lavish and opulent."
The investor said: "The home is decorated with quality furniture and top of the range equipment. It gives me the impression that the owner sure knows how to enjoy the high life."
The 5,242 sqare foot duplex reportedly has 'giant crystal light fixtures and works of art,' a huge bathroom with a jacuzzi, a roof terrace with a large pool, and a number of other luxuries.
Kong responded, however, that the investor is using "superlative terms to describe the property," and is "implying that its furnishings are grand and luxurious."
"I don't know the intentions and motives of this 'investor,' but my family and I would respectfully disagree with what he is trying to suggest," Kong asserted.
"There is no denying that we are blessed and privileged to be staying at Sentosa Cove. However, we are under no illusion that this is only our temporary home, until the property is sold. The article has given the impression that this unit was only just put up for sale. In reality, the co-owner and I have been trying to sell this property for some time."
The CHC pastor also denied suggestions that he and his family are enjoying the "high life," alluding to what they have been through in the past five years.
Kong and five other CHC members are currently on trial facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted of having misused $19.2 million in church funds on the pop music career of Sun Ho, the pastor's wife.
Prosecutors are accusing the CHC members of funneling money into Ho's career through sham bond investing into a management company called Xtron. Kong has denied participating in such a scheme, however, and has said that church support for the Crossover project, which funds Ho's music tours, is part of its mission to spread the Gospel and increase CHC's presence.