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Singapore Transport Minister resigns

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Singapore’s Transport Minister S. Iswaran has resigned after being charged with corruption on Thursday, the Prime Minister’s office said, confirming a historic development for a city state that prides itself on having a squeaky-clean government.

The charges against Iswaran are part of the biggest corruption probe to engulf Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) in decades. The scandal, which also ensnared a hotel tycoon best known for bringing the Formula 1 Grand Prix to the city, was one in a series of controversies for the government in the past year that sent shockwaves through the country.

Iswaran is the country’s first sitting Minister to be charged with a criminal offense.

Iswaran, whose political career spanned nearly 30 years, faces 27 charges, including corruption and obstructing justice, Chief Prosecutor Tan Kiat Pheng said in Court Thursday.

According to charge sheets seen by CNN, these included allegations that he was gifted by Malaysian billionaire Ong Beng Seng, more than 160,000 Singapore dollars ($119,000) in bribes in exchange for advancing his business interests. Those gifts allegedly included business class flights, luxury hotel stays, and tickets to the F1 Grand Prix, English Premier League matches and West End musicals.

The former Minister was flanked by his legal team at court on Thursday morning and pleaded not guilty. He is currently on bail.

In a statement sent to CNN, Iswaran said he rejected the charges and allegations against him. “I resigned as (a) Cabinet Minister, Member of Parliament and as a member of the People’s Action Party because I believe it was the right thing to do,” the statement read.

(CNN)

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