The Straits Times reports…
“City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee strongly denies he is “living the high life”, in an explanation of how he and his family came to be living in a luxury Sentosa Cove home.
In a Facebook post, Kong, 50, said he and his family moved into the Oceanfront penthouse – which has been on the market for $10 million – after he sold other properties to pay legal fees. As of yesterday, an online ad for the unit had been removed.
The pastor posted the message on Thursday in response to The Straits Times report “Kong Hee puts Sentosa Cove home on sale for $10m”, published the same day.
Kong said: “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.”
Kong faces three charges of criminal breach of trust. He and five others are alleged to have misused $50 million of church funds and then falsified church accounts to cover it up. They are accused of funnelling millions from the church’s building fund to help boost the music career of Kong’s wife Ho Yeow Sun.
The penthouse is co-owned with Indonesian tycoon Wahju Hanafi, and was purchased for $9.33 million in 2007. The Straits Times understands Kong and his family moved into the 5,242 sq ft duplex unit on the 11th storey about three years ago.
The Straits Times learnt that the co-owners are asking $10 million for the unit, that comes with a rooftop infinity pool and overlooks the One Degree 15 Marina Club.
Kong said he was “surprised and saddened by the contents of the article” and disputed an investor’s description of the furnishings in his duplex penthouse, after visiting it, as “lavish and opulent”.
The investor said Kong’s home “is decorated with quality furniture and topof-the-range equipment. It gives me the impression that the owner sure knows how to enjoy the high life”.
Kong’s agent tried to sweeten the deal with a chance to sail on the owner’s yacht, the investor said.
Kong said he does not own a yacht and was very surprised by the description of his property.
“Suffice to say that those who know and are around me, my family and friends, know perfectly well what we have gone through over the past five years, and what we continue to go through today can hardly be called ‘the high life’,” he wrote.
When contacted, he said he had no further comment.”