(NewsUSA) - It is a classic case of "he said, she said."
At the crux of the matter is whether or not charismatic, influential Singapore pastor Kong Hee used millions of dollars from church funds to buy bonds to promote his wife's cross-over music career, as is being contended.
While the prosecution argues that the investment companies and bonds amounted to "shams," Hee maintains that he did nothing wrong. Supporting this claim is his church body, City Harvest, noting that all monies were returned to their coffers with interest, and no funds were lost.
While the case continues to gain attention both in America and abroad, Hee's supporters remain adamant that he is innocent.
"He [Pastor Hee] never did anything illegal, never did anything to the inurement of his own pockets or that of his wife," Pastor A.R. Bernard told the Washington Times in an interview this year. Bernard, an international religious leader based in Brooklyn, N.Y., has been one of Hee's most outspoken and vocal supporters.
Instead, Bernard asserts that the Singapore government is trying to make an example out of Hee and the 20,000-member church that he founded, saying, "Change is taking place in the nation [of Singapore] that is part of a bigger picture."
Bernard is referring to the fact that at least one-third of Singaporeans are Buddhist, while its younger generation is embracing Christianity and Christian churches that are popping up all over that country. This trend, Bernard says, is not sitting well with a government that is accustomed to control and status quo, and has little experience with special interest groups.
Theresa Tan, a spokeswoman for City Harvest, agrees.
"As a church, we believe that God's doing something in Asia, and Singapore is pivotal as a location," she told the Financial Times in an interview last month. "We are at a crossroads to various parts of Asia, so we feel that God's using Singapore in such a way."
For his part, Hee has remained quiet but has told his congregation that he "maintains his integrity ? and will defend that integrity against these charges." Hee continues to preach at City Harvest as a senior pastor.
"Pastor Kong has been a great leader of the church in Singapore and an influence throughout the world," said Pastor Casey Treat, a religious leader at the Christian Faith Center in Washington.
"I have never seen a compromise or unbiblical behavior."
Hee is expected to take the stand in his own defense when the trial resumes this summer.