The Singapore government is reviewing the Formula 1 agreements between the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Singapore GP Private Limited, amid corruption allegations surrounding the former Minister of Transport, S Iswaran.
The initial agreement for the F1 contract was made in 2007 and has subsequently been renewed three times in 2012, 2017, and 2022.
The existing contract is set to expire in 2028.
In Parliament on Feb 5, Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations Grace Fu said that the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is examining the contract between Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Singapore GP to host the F1 night race to safeguard Singapore’s interest.
She also said that Singapore “remains committed to the F1 Singapore Grand Prix and is preparing for the 2024 race”.
Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, Grace Fu, stated in Parliament on Monday (Feb 5) that the government is carefully examining the terms of the contracts, following an independent consultancy study. Although there is currently no evidence to suggest that the agreements were disadvantageous to the government, Fu emphasized the need to review them due to the corruption allegations.
Fu also announced that STB will conduct an audit of the most recent Formula 1 race held in 2022, as part of the reassessment process.
“There is nothing to suggest, as of now, that either the F1 contracts or other contracts were structured to the disadvantage of the government”.
“But as members would appreciate, given the allegations of corruption, we are reviewing the terms of the deal again. We have also asked STB to conduct an audit of the most recent race held in 2022, of which accounts are ready for audit.”
– Grace Fu
The Parliament inquiry primarily focused on investigating any potential relationship between Iswaran and Ong Beng Seng, the chairman of Singapore GP, regarding the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, as well as any lapses in due diligence and reporting processes.
Ong, who played a significant role in bringing Formula 1 to Singapore, was arrested last July to assist with investigations by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), coinciding with Iswaran’s arrest.
“While we will review any government contracts to safeguard Singapore’s interest, we remain committed to the F1 Singapore Grand Prix,” she said in parliament session held on Feb 5.
Despite the ongoing review, preparations for the 2024 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix have already commenced, according to Fu.
In response to a question raised by a Member of Parliament, Fu clarified that she was unaware of any contracts of a similar nature and relevance between the government and companies affiliated with Ong beyond the Formula 1 race.
During the Parliament session, Speaker Seah Kian Peng also announced Iswaran’s resignation as a Member of Parliament, leaving a vacant seat in the West Coast electoral division.
Iswaran, who resigned from his government positions on 16 January, pleaded not guilty to all charges, including allegations of corruptly receiving over S$166,000 worth of flights, hotel stays, and event tickets. Minister Grace Fu took over the Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations portfolio after Iswaran’s resignation.
The government’s decision to review the Formula 1 contracts reflects its commitment to transparency and ensuring integrity in its dealings. As the investigation continues, Singapore hopes to uphold its reputation as a trustworthy destination for international events and maintain strong trade relations.