EXCLUSIVE: Taib family's illicit billions disclosed!

EXCLUSIVE: Taib family's illicit billions disclosed!

"Billions of illicit assets": Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Godfather of Sarawak

Research by the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) has uncovered the vast dimensions of the Malaysian Taib family's illicit assets. According to the Swiss organization, the inner family circle of Malaysian potentate Abul Taib Mahmud has a stake in over 400 companies around the globe and holds illicit assets worth several billion US dollars.

Abdul Taib Mahmud ("Taib") has been Chief Minister, Finance Minister and Planning and Resources Management Minister of Malaysia's largest state, Sarawak, since 1981. He has been long criticized for corrupt practices and abuse of office but Malaysian authorities have failed to take action against him, despite an ongoing investigation by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC). Taib is a key supporter of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

In Malaysia alone, Taib, his four children, eight siblings and his first cousin Hamed bin Sepawi have a stake in 332 companies worth several billion US dollars. The Taib family's share in 14 large companies' net assets alone has been calculated at 1.46 billion US dollars (4.6 billion Malaysian Ringgits). The three largest Taib family-linked companies are the 84% Taib-owned Cahya Mata Sarawak (net assets 2.4 billion Ringgits), the 25% Taib-owned Custodev Sdn Bhd (net assets 1.6 billion Ringgits) and the at least 35% Taib-owned Ta Ann Holdings Bhd (net assets: 1.4 billion Ringgits).

Cahya Mata Sarawak is a construction conglomerate listed on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange (KLSE 2852) that has benefited massively from a cement monopoly and from untendered public contracts awarded by the Taib-led Sarawak state government. Ta Ann Holdings Bhd (KLSE 5012), which is chaired by Taib's first cousin, Hamed Sepawi, is an internationally active logging company. Since its foundation in the 1980s, Ta Ann has been granted more than 675,000 hectares of logging and plantation concessions by the Taib government. Privately-held Custodev Sdn Bhd is a Sarawak-based property development company. Achi Jaya Holdings (net assets 550 million Ringgits), which is wholly owned by the Taib family, holds a monopoly over log exports from the timber-rich state.

"We consider these corporate interests of the Taib family to be illicit assets", said BMF director Lukas Straumann today. "There are many clear indications that Taib has abused his public office to build a corruption and fraud-based billion-dollar empire."

"We are shocked to see that the Taib family has so shamelessly enriched itself while the people of Sarawak have to struggle with widespread poverty and an appalling lack of infrastructure and government services."

Apart from Malaysia, the Taib family also has stakes in at least 85 companies in 25 countries and offshore jurisdictions, namely Australia (22 companies), Bermuda (1), the British Virgin Islands (7), Brunei Darussalam (1), Cambodia (1), Canada (9), the Cayman Islands (1), Fiji (3), Hong Kong (7), India (2), Indonesia (3), Jersey (1), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (1), Labuan (1), New Zealand (5), the People's Republic of China (2), the Philippines (1), Singapore (2), Sri Lanka (1), Thailand (2), the United Arab Emirates (1), the United Kingdom (4), the United States of America (6) and Vietnam (1).

The Bruno Manser Fund is calling on anti-corruption and anti-money-laundering authorities worldwide to investigate the Taib family's business activities and freeze Taib family assets in their countries.

Business leaders and corporations are advised not to conduct business with Taib family corporations for legal and reputational reasons.

- Ends -

All documents can be found online under: www.stop-timber-corruption.org/resources


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