Web Stories Wednesday, February 28

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said on Friday (Jan 19) that there were “no active ongoing negotiations with ABBA Voyage”, a virtual concert experience by Swedish pop group ABBA that was named in a corruption charge faced by former Transport Minister S Iswaran.

In response to queries from CNA about the status of the show here, an STB spokesperson said: “To refresh Singapore’s tourism offerings, STB regularly explores bringing new acts and attractions from around the world to Singapore.

“ABBA Voyage is one such act that STB was exploring. There are no active ongoing negotiations with ABBA Voyage.”

The statement did not say if discussions to hold ABBA Voyage concerts in Singapore had begun. 

Iswaran was charged in court on Thursday with multiple offences, months after a probe into him was made public. Out of the 27 charges he is facing, two are under the Prevention of Corruption Act. 

One of the corruption charges states that, in December 2022, Iswaran, in his capacity as a government minister, corruptly obtained gratification from property tycoon Ong Beng Seng in exchange for advancing his business interests in matters relating to two contracts.

One of these was a proposal for a contract with STB to establish ABBA Voyage in Singapore. Iswaran allegedly obtained a private plane ride from Singapore to Doha, a night’s stay at the Four Seasons Doha and a business class flight from Doha to Singapore in exchange for the favour. 

Instead of featuring ABBA’s four members – Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad – in the flesh, ABBA Voyage concerts feature projections of their avatars, which were created with the aid of motion-capture technology. 

The concerts are currently running in an arena in London built specifically for the show.

Media outlets previously reported that the producers of ABBA Voyage were in talks to bring the show to other cities, including Singapore, following its success in London.

Ulvaeus had also indicated in a video interview that he had been in Singapore, which he described as a “very interesting place” to build a replica of the ABBA Voyage arena in London, suggesting that the show might be brought to Singapore. 

CNA has reached out to the Universal Music Group, the corporation that owns ABBA’s recordings, and Pophouse, ABBA Voyage’s lead investor, for comment.

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