Formula 1 is a sport of great riches and glamour, but this naturally brings in some bad apples along the way. With former Transport Minister of Singapore, Subramaniam Iswaran currently serving seven years of jail time, one of the main allegations dished out involves receiving bribes worth around S$ 385,000 ($286,000) during his tenure through Property Tycoon Ong Beng Seng, Chairman of the Singapore Grand Prix.
Iswaran received the bribes and duly handed out tickets to the Singapore GP to his accomplices to further the business interest of Seng.
As things stand, Seng has somehow managed to escape any sentence despite his clear involvement in the bribery charge. Apart from giving favours in F1, Iswaran also allowed corruption in soccer matches, fights, musicals, and flights on Beng Seng’s private plane.
After realising he was in trouble, Iswaran announced his resignation with immediate effect. However, he rejected all the charges and claimed to be working on a way to clear his name.
Meanwhile, Beng Seng’s office refused to entertain any calls on the matter. He did, after all, face similar charges last year as well when he was arrested by authorities, only to be acquitted later.
Singapore is a country that prides itself on its law and order and there have been few cases of government employees getting entangled in messy controversies in the past. With the last such case involving a minister coming to light in 1986, this current episode has gripped the attention of the nation.
It is easy to assume that all Iswaran did was hand out some tickets. However, a closer inspection of the matter shows that between 2016 to 2022, he allegedly received 36 Green Room Tickets, 5 Boardwalk Tickets, 14 Twenty3 Tickets, and 61 General Admission Tickets for only the Singapore GP races.
Apart from this, after Singapore won rights to host a GP in 2022, Beng Seng reportedly flew Iswaran from Singapore to Doha in Seng’s private plane, with the trip costing $7800, all of which was done using the country’s tax money.