Switzerland may soon not be the only foreign country investigating Taib’s overflowing wealth….
Bruno Manser Fund welcomes Malaysian timber graft probe
“We are investigating Taib”: MACC Chief Commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed-but is he trying to counter potential guilty verdict from FINMA if he should be so instructed?
(BASEL, SWITZERLAND) The Bruno Manser Fund welcomes the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) announcement of a graft probe against Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud (“Taib”) over allegations of timber corruption. MACC chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed confirmed on Thursday that Taib was under investigation but declined to reveal further details.
“The announcement of MACC’s probe into the source of Taib’s assets is long overdue”, said the Bruno Manser Fund’s executive director, Lukas Straumann, on Friday.
“We are expecting the graft probe to be a fully-fledged enquiry leading to the criminal prosecution of Taib and his helpers, not just a window-dressing exercise.”
“We are willing to share with MACC all the information we have collected on Taib Mahmud’s corruption over the years and are inviting the MACC’s investigation team to visit our offices in Basel, Switzerland”, Straumann said.
During his 30 years in power as Chief Minister of the resource-rich Malaysian state of Sarawak, Taib and his family members have amassed a fortune estimated at several billion US dollars. Taib’s brother Onn controls the export of Sarawak’s tropical timber through a monopoly held by one of his companies, Achi Jaya Holdings.
Research by the Bruno Manser Fund has identified Taib family-owned property companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US. In February 2011, BMF released a blacklist naming 49 companies in 8 countries that are closely linked to the Taib family.
Last month, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) announced a probe into Taib assets in Switzerland after Swiss president Micheline Calmy-Rey forwarded them a request by the Bruno Manser Fund to freeze suspected Taib assets in Swiss banks.
“After the announcement of Malaysia’s and Switzerland’s probes into Taib corruption, we expect more countries to follow suit. In particular, we are hoping that the governments of Canada, Australia, the UK and the United States will start investigating Taib family assets in their countries.”
(10 June 2011)