Web Stories Friday, February 23

Jul 13, 2023: Mr Iswaran will remain in Singapore, PMO says

In response to queries from CNA, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said that Iswaran would remain in Singapore during his leave of absence.

The PMO also said he would have “no access to any official resources and government buildings”.

Jul 14, 2023: Ong Beng Seng’s arrest is announced by HPL

Hotel Properties Limited (HPL), the company which property tycoon Ong Beng Seng co-founded and where he is managing director, announced on Jul 14 that he had been “given a notice of arrest”.

Ong, who is Malaysian and based in Singapore, was also asked by CPIB to provide information in relation to his interactions with Iswaran, the company said in its notice to the Singapore Exchange.

The company added that no charges had been filed against Ong and that he would be travelling from Jul 14. The firm said that Ong would surrender his passport to CPIB and that he was fully cooperating with the anti-graft agency. Bail of S$100,000 (US$75,505) had been posted.

The billionaire businessman has often been credited with playing a key role in a deal struck in 2007 between the Singapore Tourism Board and then Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to bring the first-ever night race to the country. 

He owns the rights to the Singapore Grand Prix and is chairman of race promoter Singapore GP.

A contract for Singapore to host the Formula 1 Grand Prix for another seven years was signed in 2022 – the fourth renewal and longest extension.

Iswaran had been actively involved in the government’s engagements with F1, including making appearances at press conferences where announcements about the event’s future were made.

Race promoter Singapore GP said in a short statement that it was going ahead with preparations for the 2023 event in September. The Singapore Grand Prix would eventually take place on Sep 17.

In response to queries from CNA, CPIB said that Mr Iswaran was arrested on Jul 11 and subsequently released on bail.

This was the first mention of Iswaran being taken into custody since the news broke on Jul 12 that he was assisting with an investigation. The anti-graft agency also said that Ong was arrested on Jul 11 as well and subsequently released on bail.

“As part of bail conditions, subjects’ passports are impounded,” CPIB said. “Subjects on bail can however make requests to travel overseas. CPIB will assess such requests on a case-by-case basis.”

It assessed and acceded to Ong’s request to travel overseas, and his bail quantum was increased to S$100,000. Mr Ong was required to report to the bureau when he returned and surrender his passport.

Details on Mr Iswaran’s bail quantum and the nature of the investigation were not revealed.

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