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Iswaran’s 27 charges: Harry Potter show and tickets for football matches and F1 races

Ex-PAP Minister Iswaran faces 27 charges, including corruption. He’s accused of obtaining over S$384,000 in “valuable things” from Billionaire Ong Beng Seng, including tickets to shows, football matches, and various Singapore F1 Grand Prix editions.

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On Thursday (18 January), former Transport Minister S Iswaran was charged in the State Courts with  27 offences, including corruption, receiving gratification as a public servant and obstructing justice.

The 61-year-old entered a plea of not guilty to all charges linked to his interactions with property tycoon Ong Beng Seng.

He had also tendered his resignation from Parliament and the People’s Action Party (PAP) on Tuesday.

The court heard that the charges included two counts of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 24 counts related to receiving items from individuals with whom he had business dealings in his capacity as a public servant, and one charge for obstructing the course of justice under the Penal Code.

According to charge sheets, between 2015 and 2022, Iswaran received “valuable things” exceeding S$384,000 (US$285,000) from Ong, the man who brought Formula One to Singapore.

These included tickets to shows, football matches, and multiple editions of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix.

Allegations of obtaining valuable items totalling S$218,058.95 from Mr Ong over 24 occasions

Iswaran faces 24 charges under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which expressly prohibits public servants from acquiring any valuable item—whether for zero or insufficient consideration—from individuals involved in proceedings or businesses overseen by said public servants.

As a public servant, Iswaran is accused of obtained valuable items with a cumulative worth of approximately S$218,058.95 from Mr Ong on 24 occasions between November 2015 to December 2021.

He allegedly either received this through Mr Ong directly, Mr Ong’s company Como Holdings (UK) or Singapore GP.

This alleged series of transactions occurred against the backdrop of Iswaran’s awareness of Mr Ong’s connection to his official role as the Chairman of the F1 Steering Committee.

The items include:

Around November 2015

  • Two tickets to the show Thriller worth about £200 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Two tickets to the show The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time worth about £270 from Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Two tickets to the football match for West Ham United FC v Everton FC (Boleyn Ground) worth about £468 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings UK
  • Two tickets to the football match for Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur FC (Emirates) worth about £550 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)

In September 2016

  • Ten Green Room tickets to the 2016 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix worth about S$42,265 from Mr Ong through Singapore GP

In September 2017

  • Ten Green Room tickets to the 2017 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix worth about S$42,265 from Mr Ong through Singapore GP
  • Five Boardwalk tickets to the 2017 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix worth about S$40,000 from Mr Ong through Singapore GP

Around December 2017

  • Four tickets to the show Book of Mormon worth about £540 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the football match of Chelsea FC v Southampton FC (Stamford Bridge) worth about £700 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the shows Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Part 1 and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Part 2, worth about £1,000 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the football match for Arsenal FC v Liverpool FC (Emirates) worth about £1,100 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the show Kinky Boots worth about £300 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)

In September 2018

  • Six Twenty3 tickets to the 2018 Singapore Formula Grand Prix worth about S$13,193.10 from Mr Ong through Singapore GP
  • Thirteen general admission tickets to the 2018 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix worth about S$16,744 from Mr Ong through Singapore GP

Around December 2018

  • Four tickets to the show The Play That Goes Wrong worth about £380 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the show School of Rock worth about £560 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the football match for Chelsea FC v Manchester City FC worth at least £120 from Mr Ong

Around June 2019

  • Four tickets to the show Hamilton worth about £400 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the show Waitress worth about £524 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the show Betrayal worth about £1,080 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)

Around September 2019

  • Six Green Room tickets to the 2019 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix worth about S$26,643 from Mr Ong through Singapore GP
  • Sixteen general admission tickets to the 2019 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix worth about S$20,608 from Mr Ong through Singapore GP

Around December 2021

  • Two tickets for the show Back to the Future worth about £449 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Two tickets to the show &Juliet worth about £250 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)

As per the PCA and Penal Code, individuals facing charges related to corruption or Section 165 offences can be accused of “accepting” or “obtaining” gratification or valuable items.

In all of Iswaran’s filed charge sheets, it is explicitly mentioned that he obtained these items.

Corruption charges about a private plane journey, hotel accommodation, and a business class flight

As for the two corruption charges under Sections 6(a) and 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Iswaran is accused of corruptly receiving more than S$166,000 (US$123,570) worth of flights, hotel stays and tickets to events in exchange for advancing Mr Ong’s business interests.

He allegedly corruptly obtained 10 Green Room tickets, eight Twenty3 tickets and 32 general admission tickets to the 2022 Singapore F1 GP, worth about $48,150, $56,068 and $41,216 respectively, in September 2022.

This alleged inducement was to promote Ong’s interests in connection with a contract between the Singapore Grand Prix and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

In December 2022, Iswaran allegedly obtained gratification valued at $20,848.03 from Mr Ong.

This was purportedly in exchange for advancing Mr Ong’s interests regarding a contract between the Singapore Grand Prix and the STB, along with a proposal for a contract with the STB.

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

Allegations of obstructing the course of justice

Additionally, Iswaran faces allegations of obstructing the course of justice on or around 25 May 2023.

As detailed in court documents,  he allegedly made a repayment of S$5,700 to Singapore GP, equivalent to the cost of his business flight ticket from Doha to Singapore.

This act was carried out with the knowledge that it was likely to obstruct the proper functioning of justice.

Total of 40 tickets to 13 shows in the UK, and 16 tickets to football matches

The 40 tickets Iswaran allegedly obtained for 13 plays or musicals in the UK, spanning the years 2015 to 2021, are estimated to hold a value of S$10,693.

Concerning the five charges related to the acquisition of 16 football match tickets, the total value is reported to be S$5,646.

Iswaran is alleged to have received a total of 36 Green Room tickets, 5 Boardwalk tickets, 14 Twenty3 tickets, and 61 general admission tickets for various editions of the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix between 2016 and 2022.

The Twenty3 tickets afford premium access, providing panoramic views of the finish line along with access to specialty bars, lounges, and entertainment.

Green Room tickets grant entry to an air-conditioned suite offering prime views of the race track, complete with complimentary food and beverages, while Boardwalk tickets provide access to a glass-encased extension beside the race track.

General admission tickets, the most economical option, allow guests to access the open areas around the race circuit.

The cumulative value of these tickets is estimated to be S$347,152.

Penalties for convictions under PCA and Penal Code

For individuals convicted under Section 165 of the Penal Code, the penalties can include fines or imprisonment for up to two years, or a combination of both.

Individuals convicted under Section 6(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) may face imprisonment for a maximum of five years, a fine of up to S$100,000, or both.

Similarly, under Section 7, the potential penalties include imprisonment for up to seven years, a fine of up to S$100,000, or both.

For the offence of attempting to obstruct the course of justice, the consequences entail a possible imprisonment term of up to seven years, a monetary fine, or a combination of both.

S Iswaran pledges to clear name in face of allegations

Mr Iswaran is defended by his lawyers, including Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, Mr Navin Thevar, Ms Sheiffa Safi Shirbeeni and Mr Rajvinder Singh from Davinder Singh Chambers.

He expressed his focus on clearing his name in a statement published on his Facebook account on Thursday and pledged to return all salary and allowances received since the start of the CPIB’s investigations in July 2023.

The pre-trial conference for Iswaran’s case is scheduled for 1 March and he is currently released on S$800,000 bail.

 

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did he return back the F1 tickets also?

All South Indians, why this one thrown under the bus?

I supposed this case showed that a high salaried minister do not mean this person will not corrupt. It is just that he is caught red handed, we can never be certain if there are others.

while others are suffering, some are smiling and laughing. tsk tsk tsk

cotton and pineapple loves will say bo bian. they are immune to being fooled over and over again. LOL

No shocking fiascos have ever caused PAP to lose a lot of votes as Proven by the recent Adultery, KOM etc.

This petty tickets is certainly not gonna put a dent.

I prophecise :
1. Landslide victory as before. This time possibly higher than Tharman 71%. Possibly 73%.

2. Many will just say, “Bo Bian one lah” bochup.

Yet, 6 directors of KOM not charged because of “insufficient evidence” by SG side, while US/Brazil investigations turned up sufficient evidence to fine KOM 422m.

Possibly this Iswaran case has been low-keyed past few months so that he is allowed to acquire a haven somewhere in (say) South Asia with a nice colonial bungalow, then charge he, fine him a token sum, permitted to quit SG and retire blissfully after sucking all the money from Singaporeans all the years as one of Loong’s million$ entitled Monkeys.

With his salary higher than most if not all other country Transport ministers, why would he need help to pay for tickets that are not big ticket items?

I find the news story from msm weird.

Looks like S Iswaran is playing ball with Pinky & PAP.
So who is this Show For???
Hmmm

Should allow him to make a ministerial statement, like what the former pm and his son did on given big discounts on Nassim Jade and ms Vivian and shame on the controversial rental of the RIDEOUT bungalows.

There is nothing burger on these free tickets to the Grand Prix as he was the Chairman of SGP.

As to tickets to shows and football matches, it was important for Iswaran, as chairman to meet the gliterattis and the world press, not any shit times to bring big bucks to SGP.

Dont know why PAP wants to sink him.
He seems to be an amicable person.

Has not been an attack dog during parliamentary debates against opposition.
If he did not meet KPIs, they would have just dropped him and let Chee Hong take over.

If the LON trial exposed him, they, as usual could have brushed it all aside, a-la PAP style.
So why sinking him.. ?

PM Lee just said “Singaporeans expect no less”… My toes nearly did 1000 somersaults while LOL.

Last edited 5 months ago by Singapore Fooled Again n Again

These charges are petty lah not as though they are hard cash and in huge amount.
Its like giving a token of thanks for the successful hard business deals.
Any way must make mandatory for all political holders to declare all their assets including how many wifes and mistresses.

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