BMF invokes OECD rules against Taib family's secret international holdings

Canada’s Sakto Group accused of breaching OECD disclosure standards for multinational enterprises

OTTAWA (CANADA) The Bruno Manser Fund has today lodged a complaint with the Canadian government against the Ottawa-based Sakto Group, a multimillion dollar real estate and investment holding with close ties to the family of Sarawak Governor and former Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud. Sakto is being directed by Taib’s daughter, Jamilah Taib Murray, and her Canadian husband, Sean Murray.

Sakto was founded in 1983 and holds global assets estimated at several hundred million dollars, namely in commercial and residential real estate, hotels, restaurants, golf courses and timber. Sakto’s most prominent properties include Ottawa’s Preston Square development, the FBI building in downtown Seattle and Ridgeford Properties’ Bolsover Street luxury development in central London.

The complaint is based on the OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises and requests that the Sakto Group discloses its beneficial owners and provides detailed information on its activities, finances, group structure, governance and intra-group relations. According to the Guidelines, multinational enterprises should ensure that “timely and accurate information is disclosed on all material matters regarding their activities, structure, financial performance, ownership and governance.”

The lodging of the complaint triggers a confidential three-stage procedure that will eventually lead to a public report or statement with recommendations by the Canadian government. While the OECD Guidelines provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct, the 46 countries adhering to the Guidelines, including Canada, have made a binding commitment to implement them.

The Bruno Manser Fund, a Swiss-based human rights and environmental NGO, campaigns for the global forfeiture and recovery of assets stolen by the Taib family during Taib Mahmud’s 33-year tenure as Chief Minister of Sarawak.

(15 January 2016)

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