Tuesday, 26 September 2023

We are shifting our daily news to Gutzy.Asia Support us there!

Ong Beng Seng: The F1 magnate caught in a corruption probe

SINGAPORE — Singapore-based Malaysian billionaire Ong Beng Seng, Managing Director of Hotel Properties Limited (HPL), has been arrested by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

He is currently assisting in a high-profile investigation involving the country’s transport minister, Mr S Iswaran.

The news follows a string of rumours that circulated on private social media platforms surrounding the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix, an event spearheaded by Mr Ong.

Although he has received a notice of arrest and has posted a bail of $100,000, no charges have been filed against him, as announced by HPL’s board of directors.

Mr Ong will be travelling from 14 July 2023 and will surrender his passport to the CPIB upon his return.

He is reported to be fully cooperating with the CPIB. The HPL board has reassured that Mr Ong remains fit to continue his role as the Managing Director and that they will continue to monitor the situation, reassessing his suitability as developments unfold.

This is not the first time Mr Ong has found himself embroiled in controversy.

The 1990s saw questions over luxury condominium units sold by his company to Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew and his son. The units, part of the Nassim Jade and Scotts 28 condominiums, were allegedly sold at special discounts.

This raised eyebrows due to Mr Ong’s familial links with the Lees – his uncle, Lee Suan Yew, was a director at HPL. Although then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong cleared the Lees of any wrongdoing in 1996, the incident has remained a notable mark on Mr Ong’s business record.

Furthermore, an investigative report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project in 2018 revealed allegations of corruption involving Mr Ong in the leasing of two islands in the Maldives.

The report suggested that HPL had sidestepped Maldivian laws requiring public tender for island leases, instead conducting direct negotiations with Maldivian officials.

It was also alleged that a US$5 million payment made for the lease of Fohtheyo island had been siphoned off through a company associated with friends of the then Maldivian Vice President Ahmed Adeeb. Mr Ong did not respond to these allegations.

Mr Ong, who is the founder of the Singapore-based organization Hotel Properties and a shareholder in many businesses, has a net worth of S$1.7 billion.

Together with his wife Christina, they ranked No. 25 on Forbes’ Singapore’s 50 Richest list, which was published in August 2022.

He is also the driving force behind the Singapore Grand Prix.

In 2007, he clinched the deal to bring the Formula One race to Singapore, largely due to his friendship with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.

In October 2022, Singapore once again hosted the Formula 1 Grand Prix after Singapore GP, backed by Ong and the Singapore Tourism Board, secured the franchise to host the night race for another seven years through 2028. This was the fourth and longest contract renewal, with previous deals ranging between four and five years.

Transport Minister S Iswaran said that the decision to host Formula One for another seven years came after thoroughly evaluating the long-term benefits that such an extension could bring to Singapore.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry and Singapore Tourism Board funds 60 per cent of the S$135 million night race costs each year, with race promoters Singapore GP footing the rest.

Despite these past controversies, the latest arrest and the implications of a potential scandal involving a cabinet minister have thrust the Singaporean business magnate back into the limelight.

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Latest posts

Election surprises and certainties: Dissecting Tharman’s presidential win

In the 2023 Presidential Election, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam secured a stunning 70.4% landslide victory, surprising many, including himself. Despite expectations that TKL would win the opposition votes, voters from both camps showed a preference for Tharman's charisma and perceived competency. As Singapore reflects on the outcome, questions arise about the election's fairness and the real implications of Tharman's dominant win.

Volunteer as a Polling and Counting Agent for Singapore’s 2023 Presidential Election

For the upcoming Singapore Presidential Election on 1st September, members of the civil society have spearheaded an initiative to strengthen our democratic fabric. We invite committed individuals to join us as Polling and Counting Agents, standing together for a transparent, fair, and just election. This vote counting exercise, organized by members of civil society, is not specifically in support of Mr Tan Kin Lian, a candidate in the upcoming Presidential Election. It's an exercise in active citizenry. Nonetheless, Mr Tan endorses this initiative, which hinges on his candidacy, championing transparency, and has given permission for the results to be shared publicly.

Reflections from the Centenary: The Legacy of LKY and Singapore’s Future

Gilbert Goh reflects on the LKY centenary event: an inspiring showcase of a leader's global legacy juxtaposed against current challenges, urging Singapore to continue its path of progress.

Lim Tean advocates for Tan Kin Lian: A visionary leader for Singapore’s Presidency

In his speech at Mr Tan Kin Lian's launch of his presidential bid, Mr Lim Tean passionately championed the need for a truly Independent President. Highlighting Mr Tan Kin Lian's unique credentials and genuine concern for the wellbeing of Singaporeans, the Peoples Voice leader emphasized the pressing challenges of rising living costs and job insecurities faced by the public. Mr Lim depicted Mr Tan Kin Lian as a beacon of hope for the nation, advocating for a leader who genuinely understands and represents the people’s aspirations.

Tan Jee Say endorses Tan Kin Lian for President: A courageous, genuine, and humble...

In advocating for a truly representative leader, Tan Jee Say underscored Tan Kin Lian's humility, courage, and genuine dedication. Highlighting the pressing need for restored public trust and effective independence, Tan Jee Say emphasized that Tan Kin Lian, as the 'People's President', would bring back hope to Singaporeans and champion true democracy

Tan Kin Lian’s pledge: Rekindling unity and charting a vigorous future for Singapore

In the press conference to announce his bid for the Singapore presidency, Tan Kin Lian emphasizes safeguarding Singapore's reserves and strengthening public service integrity. Drawing on his 30-year leadership at NTUC Income, he envisions a future with affordable living, accessible housing, and job stability, pledging collaboration with the government for a united nation.

Strengthening Singapore’s political foundations: A call to action by Leong Mun Wai on Singapore’s...

Leong Mun Wai urges Singaporeans to strengthen political checks and balances, emphasizing, 'The best is yet to be for Singapore if we dare to make the right decision in upcoming elections.

Trending posts