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Singapore ex-Transport minister faces 8 new charges in graft case

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s former Transport Minister S. Iswaran was handed eight more charges in a corruption case on Monday, the anti-graft body said, in one of the city-state’s highest-profile corruption scandals.

The additional charges involved allegations he obtained valuable items worth about S$18,956 ($14,077) while minister from an individual whose business had dealings with the Transport Ministry, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said in a statement.

Mr. Iswaran now faces a total of 35 charges in a case that has gripped Singapore, a major Asian financial hub that prides itself on a squeaky-clean government that is rarely affected by graft and political scandal.

The last corruption case involving a minister was in 1986 when the national development minister was investigated for allegedly accepting bribes. The minister died before he could be charged in court.

Mr. Iswaran, 61, denies the charges according to local media reports.

Those include corruption and obstructing the course of justice, which were leveled on Jan. 18. If convicted of graft, he could be fined up to S$100,000 or face seven years in prison.

He was arrested in July last year and alleged to have obtained kickbacks worth S$384,340 ($286,181) from property tycoon Ong Beng Seng, partly to advance Mr. Ong’s business interests.

Charge sheets show the favors included tickets to football matches, musicals, a flight on Mr. Ong’s private plane and tickets to the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix. Iswaran was advisor to the Grand Prix’s steering committee, while Mr. Ong owns the rights to the race. — Reuters

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