Taib behind major Ottawa development

Free Malaysia Today, 12 November 2014

KUCHING: The Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund, whose Director Lukas Straumann is currently on the Canadian-leg of a global promotion of his latest book, Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia, has alleged in a release that Sarawak Governor Abdul Taib Mahmud and family secretly financed a major real estate development in Ottawa, the Canadian capital.The allegations, sourced from documents, implicitly criticize the Royal Canadian Mountain Police (RCMP) at the same time for its inaction on the “ill-gotten” Taib Family assets salted away in Canada.

“Documents presented to the Canadian press prove the close financial ties between the Taib family and Sakto Corporation, an Ottawa-based real estate group,” said the Bruno Manser Fund release.

Straumann himself presented evidence on a mortgage loan of over CAN$ 20 million granted to Sakto by the Taib family in 1996 for the company’s Preston Street development in Ottawa’s Little Italy.

Sakto, which is reportedly directed by Taib’s daughter and her Canadian husband, evidently controls three office towers and a residential building at Preston appraised at more than CAN$ 200 million.

Other newly-released documents purportedly show that Taib’s late wife, Laila, purchased a private property in Ottawa’s Rockcliffe Park for CAN$ 945,000 in 1989. The mansion was later given for free to Taib’s daughter Jamilah and her husband Sean Murray.

“The documents are additional evidence supporting Straumann’s claim that the Taib family has secretly transferred hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit assets from Sarawak to family properties in Canada, the US, Australia and the United Kingdom,” said the release.

The Taib family, according to Straumann’s book, holds stakes in over 400 companies in 25 countries. Their stake in 14 Malaysian companies alone has been calculated at USD 1.2 billion.

The Bruno Manser Fund called on the RCMP and the Canadian judiciary to live up to Canada’s international obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and to freeze the Taib Family’s Canadian assets and prosecute them for money-laundering.

Under Canada’s Criminal Code, it is forbidden to conceal or convert property that has been obtained anywhere in the world in a manner that “if it had occurred in Canada, would have constituted a designated offence”.

Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia is available from www.money-logging.org and many other sources, including: Canada – Octopus Books, Ottawa http://octopusbooks.ca/; UK – NHBS, Star Books; USA – Amazon; Australia – Asia Book Room; Malaysia – GB Gerakbudaya http://gbgerakbudaya.com/bookshop; Singapore – wherever books are sold. E-books available wherever books are sold.

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