Malaysian billionaire hotelier Ong Beng Seng who lives in Singapore is said to be leaving the country after posting $100,000 bail subsequent to his notice of arrest.
Ong who incidentally also owns the right to the Singapore Grand Prix was questioned by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Board (CPIB) about his conversations with Singapore Transport Minister S. Iswaran. Iswaran is also being investigated.
The duo are being investigated as Formula One makes a comeback to Singapore on September 15. The race agreement was signed between the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and race promoters Singapore GP with the Formula One Group in January 2022.
Singapore will host the race until 2028. This is the fourth contract for Singapore and the longest so far. The last one was signed in 2017.
It was reported that Singapore GP and STB paid $35 million under the previous contract.
On Jan 27, Mr Iswaran had told The Straits Times;
“Even as we deal with the immediate challenges of the pandemic, it is important that we focus on our recovery and long-term growth. The Singapore F1 race continues to be a strong focal point for tourists, global events and business meetings.
“We have decided to continue hosting the F1 race for another seven year, after thoroughly evaluating the long-term benefits that a term extension could bring to Singapore.”
Ong and the arrest notice
Not long after The Straits Times reported the notice of arrest service on Ong. According to the newspaper Mr Ong is chairman and therefore foots 40% of the cost of staging the $135 night race.
The remaining amount is funded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the STB.
There has been no official statement yet about why Iswaran and Ong are under investigation.
To date the Singapore Grand Prix has reportedly generated more than $1.1 billion in tourism receipts, according to event organizers.
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The photo above is from a YouTube screen grab