Hornbill Unleashed

October 14, 2010

A former employee of Taib – Whistleblower found dead with bag tied around head

A former employee of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s family business empire was found dead last Sunday in a Los Angeles hotel room with a bag tied around his head.

Ross J Boyert, 60, was former chief operating officer of Sakti International – the United States-based property company belonging to Taib’s family.

“It is speculated that he may have taken his own life, but the coroner is withholding judgement pending further investigations,” said anti-Taib website Sarawak Report, which has recently published a series of explosive revelations on Sarawak’s ‘first family’.

According to Sarawak Report, Boyert had for 12 years served as the sole manager of a number of the office blocks and residences owned by the Taib family in San Francisco and Seattle.

NONESakti International owns an estimated US$80 million (RM258 million) in properties. Among them is the 14-storey Abraham Lincoln Building – a maximum security building which houses the Seattle division of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and counter-terrorism unit, the Washington Fusion Centre.

It was Boyert who helped Sakti International sealed the deal with the FBI in 1998.

Apart from the Abraham Lincoln Building, Sakti’s other top property includes 260 California Street, San Francisco, the tenants of which include Citibank (left).

Boyert took charge of an ailing Sakti International in 1994 when it was under the management of Taib’s son Sulaiman Taib – then a student in California.

Sulaiman, who is now a parliamentarian in his father’s former seat of Kota Samaharan, quit late last year as deputy tourism minister citing personal reasons. It is rumoured that he is in ill-health.

Falling out with family members

Sarawak Report said that Boyert left Sakti International in 2006 after falling foul of rivalries among Taib family members.

“Details of what happened to him are publicly laid out in lawsuits and counter-lawsuits lodged in the records of the California Superior Court. These records provided some of the information behind Sarawak Report’s original exposes of Taib’s US property interests,” added the website.

azlanTaib, who has ruled Sarawak since 1981, is speculated to be among Malaysia’s richest, with business interests in a variety of industries locally and abroad.

Most prominent of the Taib family companies is conglomerate Cahaya Mata Sarawak Bhd, which constructed much of the state’s infrastructure.

According to the lawsuits filed by Boyert, Sulaiman had promised him 50 percent of the profits in Sakti International in return for rescuing the company.

However, an inept Sulaiman was later replaced as the company sole director by Taib’s Canadian son-in-law Sean Murray – the husband of Sulaiman’s sister Jamilah.

After securing control of the company, Murray subsequently sacked Boyert without any compensation. Boyert retaliated by going to court claiming unfair dismissal and demanded the promised share of the profits.

By bringing the case against Sakti, and thus revealing the Taib family’s business interest, Boyert claimed his own family faced “a relentless, well-funded campaign to undermine their reputation and to destroy them financially”.

“We thought it was a plain vanilla employment dispute and they would eventually give us some money to go away,” Boyert told Sarawak Report. “Instead they unleashed the forces of hell on us.

“I was incredibly naive. I should have realised that by showing all that I knew about Taib’s involvement in the company, I would present a threat in his eyes and invoke his revenge.

“We never realised that Taib’s wealth was illegitimate, we didn’t have Google in those days. We just assumed that, as the FBI had checked out the company and rented a maximum security facility from the Taibs, everything must be above board.”

laila taib mahmud sulaiman taib 290409In deep desperation

Boyert alleged numerous incidents of tyre slashing, the destruction of burglar alarm and CCTV surveillance systems and a series of break-ins into their multi-million dollar home.

Unable to find work and having lost their home, a deeply depressed Boyert made an attempt to kill himself three months ago by crashing his car into a tree.

Boyert had met with investigators from Sarawak Report several times and provided some of the key information which form part of its series of expose on Taib family’s business empire.

NONEBoyert also contacted Malaysiakini soon after he heard that Taib was suing the news portal for defamation over its 2007 report on alleged kickbacks paid by Japanese shippers to a company linked to the chief minister’s family.

Following the death of Taib’s wife in 2009, Boyert told Malaysiakini in an email:

“It is with neither joy nor sorrow that I greet the news of the death of Laila Taib , but rather with a profound sense of disappointment. Having suffered mightily for our stand against the injustices perpetrated by this family, I cannot help but feel cheated by this death.

“The pained look on my wife’s face as we now confront the prospect of the loss of our home resulting from the destructive slander of my reputation is almost too much to bear.

“We remain committed to the cause of justice, believe that all ill begotten gains be repatriated, and that the Taib’s better start compensating now all those whom they have so ruthlessly harmed, or be prepared to suffer their own final judgment.”

Boyert leaves behind a wife and daughter.

5 Comments »

  1. the question is who planned the assassination

    Comment by Ryan T SH — December 28, 2012 @ 6:47 AM | Reply

  2. He probably had information that could have put the Taibs in jail so he had to go.

    Comment by AgreeToDisagree — October 16, 2010 @ 6:55 PM | Reply

  3. Before Ross’ appearance in Sakti International, it was making losses.

    Don’t these guys’ companies and biznesses always make losses so they can run away from tax.

    The cronies are same. They fiddle with the accounts and declare losses or pay a few ringgit they want to. With US$80.0 million earnings involved in Sakti, some RM270.0 – Rm300.0 million, couldn’t there be some murders??? From which seed capital sources were dubious?

    Comment by Scion — October 15, 2010 @ 3:22 PM | Reply

  4. Sarawak Report should by now working with one of Taib’s tenants, the FBI, to expose more and repatriate all ill gotten gains of Taib’s family back to Sarawak.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — October 15, 2010 @ 8:48 AM | Reply

  5. Very sad!

    C**t happens in life, maybe he could not take it any longer.

    Its always the ones/one left behind it hurts the most if indeed he did kill himself. No time to say sorry, or say goodbye is terribly hard on family and friends.

    If I say I hope he did not commit suicide it may be miscontrude, just as if I say he was murdered would be frowned on.

    So I shall just simply say R.I.P. Ross!

    Goodnight everyone at Hornbill Unleashed – take care.

    Comment by Kate — October 15, 2010 @ 4:57 AM | Reply


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