Transport minister leaves CPIB headquarters, 10 hours after being spotted there

It was the first time he has been seen by the media since he was arrested on July 11.

Wong Shiying

Wong Shiying

The Straits Times


This is the first time Mr S. Iswaran has been seen by the media since news broke about his arrest. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

July 19, 2023

SINGAPORE – Transport Minister S. Iswaran was seen leaving the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau’s (CPIB) headquarters on Tuesday evening, some 10 hours after he was spotted entering the premises.

It was the first time he has been seen by the media since he was arrested on July 11.

He arrived at the CPIB complex in Jalan Bukit Merah at about 10.50am in a grey Mazda 6, and left in an Audi sports utility vehicle at 8.48pm.

Mr Iswaran, who is being investigated by the anti-graft body, was dressed in a blue shirt and dark trousers. He entered and left the building unaccompanied.

CPIB said last Friday that Mr Iswaran and tycoon Ong Beng Seng were arrested on July 11 and assisting with investigations into a case it had uncovered.

It did not give details on the nature of the probe.

Both men were released on bail, and Mr Iswaran’s passport has been impounded.

Mr Ong, 77, returned to Singapore from Bali on a private plane on Monday afternoon, after being allowed by the CPIB to travel overseas. He had left for the Indonesian resort island last Friday after posting bail of $100,000.

In response to a query from The Straits Times on Mr Iswaran’s bail, a CPIB spokesman last Friday declined to provide details.

Hotel Properties Limited said in a statement to the Singapore Exchange last Friday that no charges have been filed against Mr Ong, 77, who is the founder and managing director of the company.

Mr Iswaran, 61, was instructed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to take a leave of absence until the investigation was completed, the Prime Minister’s Office said last Wednesday.

He will remain in Singapore during this period, and will have no access to any official resources and government buildings.

Mr Iswaran and Mr Ong are known to be key figures in making Singapore’s pitch to become a part of the Formula One circuit.

Mr Ong is chairman of the Singapore Grand Prix, which organises the F1 night race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit annually.

In the mid-2000s, Mr Iswaran – a junior trade minister at the time – and Mr Ong convinced then Formula One Group chief executive Bernie Ecclestone to make Singapore the venue for the sport’s first night race, starting in 2008.

Mr Iswaran reportedly knew Mr Ong when he was a bureaucrat and top executive at Temasek.

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