Hotelier Ong Beng Seng called up by CPIB to provide info in S. Iswaran probe

Billionaire given notice of arrest and has posted bail, will surrender passport upon return to Singapore

Singapore hotelier Ong Beng Seng.
Singapore hotelier Ong Beng Seng. (PHOTO: Reuters/Vivek Prakash)

SINGAPORE — Billionaire hotelier Ong Beng Seng, one of the wealthiest businessmen in Singapore, has been issued a notice of arrest by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

He has been requested by the anti-graft body to provide information in relation to his interactions with Transport Minister S. Iswaran, who has been assisting the agency in an investigation.

Hotel Properties Limited (HPL), of which Ong is the founder and managing director, said in a statement to the Singapore Exchange at 7.30am on Friday (14 July) that no charges have been filed against the 77-year-old yet.

"He will be travelling from 14 July and will be surrendering his passport to CPIB upon his return to Singapore. He has been given a notice of arrest and has posted bail of $100,000," the statement said.

"Mr Ong is cooperating fully with CPIB and has provided the information requested. As this is an ongoing matter, he is unable to provide further details at this point."

HPL added that its nominating committee has determined that Ong continues to be suitable to carry out his duties and responsibilities as managing director. It will continue to monitor the progress of the matter and re-assess the suitability of his continued appointment.

Bringing F1 Grand Prix to Singapore

Ong's HPL operates hotels under brands such as Four Seasons, Marriott International and InterContinental, and has properties across 15 countries such as Singapore, Australia, Canada, Britain and the United States.

He is also reported to have played a key role in bringing the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix into the city-state in 2007. Singapore extended the contract to host the F1 Grand Prix for another seven years last year.

Iswaran's assisting the CPIB investigation is the first time in nearly four decades that a Singapore cabinet minister is involved in a probe by the agency. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Wednesday that he had directed Iswaran to take a leave of absence until the investigation is completed.

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