Arrest notice issued for Singapore billionaire Ong with business ties to Maldives

Singaporean billionaire Ong Beng Seng.

Singapore’s anti-graft agency has issued an arrest notice for one the of wealthiest men in the nation, Ong Beng Seng, the managing director of Hotel Property Limited (HPL) which operates multiple resorts in the Maldives.

Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) is investigating Ong over some dealings he had with Singapore’s Transport Minister S Iswaran.

The minister has been ordered by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to take a leave of absence pending the completion of the probe.

HPL, in a statement on Friday, said no charges have been laid against Ong, while he would surrender his passport to the CPIB upon returning to Singapore. He was permitted to travel overseas on Friday. The company also noted he had posted bail of Sg$100,000 ($76,000).

The 77-year-old billionaire’s businesses operated eight resorts in the Maldives;

  • Gililanfushi in Kaafu Atoll
  • Holiday Inn Kandooma Maldives in Kaafu Atoll
  • Four Seasons Maldives at Kuda Huraa in Kaafu Atoll
  • Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru in Baa Atoll
  • Four Seasons Maldives Private Island at Voavah in Baa Atoll
  • Intercontinental Maldives Maamunagau in Raa Atoll
  • Six Senses Laamu in Laamu Atoll
  • Kanuhura Maldives in Lhaviyani Atoll

Ong had rendered much assistance to the Maldives during the COVID-19 pandemic. His company, HPL donated 15 ventilators and 100,000 masks in this trajectory. 

Ong, who was born into a wealthy Malaysian family, made his fortune in shipping insurance in the early 1970s, before moving into oil trading, property and hotels.

At present, he presides over more than three dozen hotels and resorts, including the Four Seasons and Hard Rock Hotels, scattered across multiple nations. In 2008, he played a major role in bringing the annual Formula One night racing competition to the city.