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S. Iswaran’s charges echo prior viral messages and Asia Sentinel report

Charges against S. Iswaran mirror earlier viral messages and Asia Sentinel’s report. If linked to Ecclestone’s trial, UK may hold key details, making a Singapore cover-up unlikely.

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In a twist reminiscent of a political thriller, former Transport Minister S. Iswaran is now facing serious charges that strikingly align with revelations made by viral WhatsApp messages circulated in Singapore and what has been reported by Asia Sentinel in July 2023.

Iswaran, the former Transport Minister, pleaded not guilty to all 27 charges. These include two counts of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 24 counts of receiving items from individuals he had business dealings with in his capacity as a public servant, and one charge of obstructing the course of justice under the Penal Code.

The charge sheets indicate that between 2015 and 2022, Iswaran received “valuable things” totalling over S$384,000 (US$285,000) from Ong. These included tickets to shows, football matches, and several editions of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix.

Iswaran faces two corruption charges under Sections 6(a) and 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, allegedly having received about S$145,434 in gratification from billionaire Ong Beng Seng in September 2022. This inducement was purportedly to promote Ong’s interests in a contract between the Singapore Grand Prix and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

Furthermore, in December 2022, Iswaran allegedly obtained gratification valued at $20,848.03 from Mr Ong. This was supposedly in exchange for advancing Mr Ong’s interests regarding a contract between the Singapore Grand Prix and the STB, along with a proposal for another contract with the STB.

Reportedly, the items obtained in these alleged corrupt transactions include an outbound flight on Mr Ong’s private plane from Singapore to Doha, estimated at US$7,700, a night’s stay at the Four Seasons Doha valued at about S$4,738, and a business class flight from Doha to Singapore, worth roughly S$5,700.

While the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) refused to share details following Iswaran’s arrest and investigation, The Online Citizen first reported on 13 July 2023 about a viral WhatsApp message that involved billionaire tycoon Ong Beng Seng, one of Singapore’s richest men and a key figure in bringing the Formula One Grand Prix to the city in 2008. Ong was revealed to have been investigated by CPIB a day after that.

According to rumours from private message texts circulating in Singapore, gifts of benefits for Transport Minister S. Iswaran were related to maintaining the race in the city-state.

These messages detail how the scandal traces back to an investigation sparked by the trial of former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone in London.

The Asia Sentinel, an online blog focusing on Asia that has been blocked in Singapore due to non-compliance with POFMA directions, further reported details about how suspicions arose when payments to Ong Beng Seng were discovered during the trial. These payments suggest possible reimbursements for providing VIP treatment to Iswaran at the Singapore Grand Prix.

The Asia Sentinel’s report also highlighted Ong’s influence in securing a seven-year contract for the F1 race in Singapore, an event of significant national interest but also controversial due to its enormous costs and debated value.

The Asia Sentinel’s report from last year, now seems almost prophetic, having exposed the undercurrents of this scandal before the formal charges were made.

Reform Party leader Kenneth Jeyaretnam was issued a POFMA correction direction last year over an alleged false statement that the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) probe into Iswaran and Ong was a result of foreign pressure.

The Singapore government said that the CPIB had been investigating a separate matter when it stumbled upon information concerning Mr Iswaran.

However, despite the POFMA correction direction, the false statement appears to be centred around the claim of foreign pressure that resulted in the investigation and not that the investigation was unrelated to the trial happening in the UK with the former F1 CEO.

Given that the rumours contained in the WhatsApp messages have largely been proven accurate with the charges against Iswaran, the connection with the London trial might shed light on why the case proceeded despite potential political backlash to the People’s Action Party (PAP).

If the rumours about the link to the trial against Ecclestone are true, the information about the offences would have been in possession of the UK government, making a cover-up by the Singapore ruling party implausible.

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Leave MIW crooks to find a way to cover up this saga. Probably invent a new law to cover backside that’s what they’re good at. POFMA and all that rubbish to prevent too much exposure to the rot within.

He only need to deny all the charges. If all former education minister did their job well, the Kam Lan Group of Singaporeans will believe that this is just a show to test their faith. 🤣

The corrupt F1 was supposed to put Singapore on the world map and certainly it did!!! Big time!!! F1 corruption brought down another pap minister and revealed Singapore to be a corrupt city on the world map! What a corrupt reputation under the junior Lee!!!

Perhaps the PAP govt should now gracefully scrap the F1 event. It is a primary source of the saga unfolding before us. It’s Isw/OBS today. It will Xxx/Yyy tomorrow. How much did we really gain for hosting such event? Did this gain truly cascade down to benefit the ordinary Singaporean? It looked like the ones that stand to gain the most are these handful of big foreign players who can well afford such “peanuts” in return for the big collection.No???? As I have said before, scrapping the F1 event is another big step towards climate change and carbon emission? Minister… Read more »

Do you all think it’s only some expensive tickets, a private jet flight and a hotel stay?

No expensive gifts gifted?
No exquisite meals and entertainments provided?
No folded ang-bao given under the table?

Ot cannot dig out too much dirts or its getting harder and harder to “clean them off from the public questionings”?

Looks like the CPIB is fully a novice still attending pre school classes.

Obviously the CYNICAL POFMA was established to protect school children from outside school bullies AND to SHIELD them from corruption itself, corruption of the kind that they claimed baselessly thrown at them, like this kind probably, ‘INSIDE IS NOT WITHIN’.

Last edited 1 month ago by John Doe

Where is Bernie’s money Now???
Can SG do a Fast Track transfer to My Account.
Hahaha.

, … … similar vibes with 1Mdb, where it was the DOJ that kicked things off with SillyPore implicated as one of its clearing points, … … and what about the recent FuJian gang, where it was “suggested” that “noise” from CommChina reverberated all the way to the red dot, … to listen and act !!! The bestest was Keppel where it all again, was initiated by the DOJ, and a guilty judgement was secured, … and all the red dot did was, tantamount to nothing !!! So, … but for the Ecclestone tax fraud trial that took place in… Read more »

if this is the case, the POFMA directions against BOTH Asia Sentinel and Ken Jeyeretnam must be LIFTED!

Apologies, if NOT COMPENSATION should be the ORDER OF THE DAY?

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