At one time Taib could feel confident to boast that he had more money than he can ever spend-see a video dated may 13th 2010 here -but he may not expect that the boast may one day attracted international attention! Exactly how did he acquired such incredible money over 30 years as Chief Minister of a Malaysian state? How is he going to cover his tracks now- now that the world may like to know his story.
Suspected Malaysian corruption assets: Swiss President alerts money-laundering watchdog
Are Swiss banks safeguarding Sarawak Chief Minister’s ill-gotten assets?
Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey has alerted Switzerland’s money-laundering watchdog, FINMA (Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority), over suspected assets of Abdul Taib Mahmud (“Taib”), Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, in Swiss bank accounts. In a letter to the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) that has been released today, Calmy-Rey acknowledges that she has forwarded a BMF report on Taib’s suspected relationship with Swiss banks to FINMA.
“I would like to thank you for your commitment against corruption”, Calmy-Rey wrote to the Bruno Manser Fund. “The fight against corruption and the restitution of potentates’ embezzled funds to the respective countries is also of great concern to the Swiss government. For years, we have been fighting for a clean financial centre, e.g. with a comprehensive anti-money-laundering legislation which contains far-reaching due diligence and reporting obligations for the financial institutions, particularly concerning funds from politically exposed persons (PEPs)”.
The Bruno Manser Fund had sent a report to the Swiss President informing her of the Taib family’s relationship with Switzerland and asking her to freeze all Taib assets held in Swiss bank accounts. For years, there have been rumours about the Taib family’s relationship with Swiss banks, particularly UBS. In 2004, UBS, together with its Bahrain-based subsidiary, Noriba Bank, was the lead manager for a 350 million US$ transaction by the Sarawak state-owned Sarawak Corporate Sukuk in Labuan, Malaysia’s offshore financial centre. One of Taib’s nieces, Elia Geneid Abas, is married to Swiss hotel manager Matthias Sutter.
After two decades of fighting against the destruction of the Borneo rainforest and the marginalization of Sarawak’s indigenous communities, the Bruno Manser Fund has recently turned its attention to corruption as one of the root causes of deforestation.
During his thirty years in power, Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, the main culprit behind the destruction of Sarawak’s tropical rainforests, is believed to have acquired billions of dollars of ill-gotten assets, most of which have been sent overseas. Research by the Bruno Manser Fund has identified 49 companies in eight countries that are closely linked to the Taib family.
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