Hornbill Unleashed

January 15, 2013

Swiss lawmakers push for freeze of Taib family assets

Malaysiakini & Sarawak Report

Up to 22 Swiss parliamentarians have filed a motion in their parliament urging the immediate freeze of assets belonging to Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and his family which are being held by Swiss banks.

This move follows a complaint lodged last week with the country’s attorney-general Michael Lauber, by Geneva MP Carlo Sommaruga (left), to declare the Taib family a criminal organisation.

According to Swiss-based environmental NGO the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), Sommaruga, who is spearheading the move, demanded that the assets be frozen and confiscated under Section 72 of the Swiss Criminal Code.


BMF, in a release, said the move was triggered by the testimony by Shahnaz Abdul Majid, the former wife of Taib’s son Mahmud Abu Bekir, in the Kuala Lumpur Syariah High Court last year.

She had testified on Oct 2 that Mahmud held 111 bank accounts in various countries and that three Swiss banks administered over US$100 million for him.

“All the evidence I have seen makes it clear that the Taib family is acting like a criminal organisation,” the release quoted Sommaruga as saying.

In the latter’s submission to parliament yesterday, a copy of which was forwarded to Malaysiakini by BMF, Sommaruga accused Taib of abusing his public office to “illicitly enrich himself, his family members and his political cronies through corruption, abuse of office and the establishment of a number of monopolies held by his family members and cronies”.

“In June 2011, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had launched a probe against Taib. There are indications that this probe is being obstructed by the current Malaysian Barisan Nasional government that depends on Taib for its political survival,” he claimed in the submission, which was signed by 21 other MPs.

He said such a move was necessary to prevent the assets from being embezzled in view of a “potential upcoming change of government in Malaysia”.

However, Taib had later denied, during the state legislative assembly in June 2011, the existence of any secret Swiss accounts, and pledged to “fully cooperate” with the Swiss Federation to “bring the truth to light so as to nail down all malicious falsehoods”.

Freeze Taib’s “Criminal” Assets For Later Restitution To The People Of Sarawak Say Swiss MPs!

Sarawak report

“like the Abacha family” – the Swiss MPs want the Taib assets frozen under criminal law.

Swiss Federal MPs have united in a damning motionplaced before Parliament, demanding their authorities freeze the Taib family’s assets in Switzerland, so that they can eventually be returned to the Sarawak people.

The motion, signed by a significant number of 22 MPs, likens Taib to the notorious African President Sani Abacha, who looted $5 billion from Nigeria before dying from a viagra over-dose in 2011.

The description of Taib by the Swiss MPs sums up their open disgust at his abuse of power and rapacious plunder of his people’s wealth.

He [Taib] has abused his public office in a spectacular way to illicitly enrich himself, his family members and his political cronies through corruption, abuse of office and the establishment of a number of monopolies held by his family members and cronies. Research by non-governmental organizations has shown that the Taib family holds stakes in over 400 companies in 25 countries and offshore finance centers. The Taib family assets have been estimated at over 20 billion Swiss franks. A large part of Taib’s illicit assets have been acquired in the context of the illegal logging of tropical rainforests of Borneo and the export of tropical timbers”.[Motion 12.4251 For the forfeiture of potentate Taib’s assets in Switzerland – 14/Jan/2012]

It must be said that few incumbent heads of state have been shamed by such open public criticism from members of a foreign government and this document sums up the embarrassment that Taib has now become to Malaysia.

Criminal complaint

The motion, filed today (Monday 14th January) is accompanied by an official criminal complaint to the Swiss Attorney General, sent by the MP Carlo Sommaruga, who has been at the forefront of publicising concerns about Taib in Switzerland.

In it he describes the Taib family as “Malaysian public figures who are acting as part of a criminal organisation” and requires the government to declare that:

 ”Mr. Abdul Taib bin Mahmud, called “Taib”, and the members of his family and entourage, has formed and is part of a criminal organisation as defined by article 260 of the Swiss Criminal Code”.

He demands their assets should therefore be confiscated under Article 72 of the same code in the same way that Abacha’s assets were frozen.


As the latest evidence of Taib and his family’s likely assets in Switzerland, Somarruga refers to the recent divorce case in Kuala Lumpur between the Chief Minister’s son and his estranged first wife Shahnaz.

In their motion the MPs point out “a family member stated in October 2012 under oath in a Malaysian Court that Taib family assets worth over 100 million US dollars are being held in Switzerland or on overseas counts of Swiss financial service providers”.

Shanaz’s testimony, which has also been corroborated to Sarawak Report by separate investigators, was that:

“He has personal accounts in Canada, the US, the Caribbean, France, Monaco, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Switzerland,”

“My claim of RM100 million in mutaah (gift) is small as he is worth in excess of RM1 billion. The RM100 million can be said to be worth 10 sen to him.

 ”For example, Mahmud holds two personal accounts in Edmond de Rothschild in Luxembourg with deposits of US$25 million. He has two accounts in the same bank in Switzerland with deposits of US$31 million.

 ”Two HSBC accounts in Jersey have deposits of US$34 million, while an HSBC account in Hong Kong holds deposits of US$9.6 million in Mahmud’s (left) name.  All these accounts have a combined value of US$100

Shahnaz said Mahmud has five bank accounts at the Pictet and Cie bank in Bahamas, the Caribbean, with deposits of US$18 million, and another account at the Safra bank in Bahamas with deposits of US$2 million.

 ”Eight personal accounts are under her husband’s name at the Safra Bank in Monaco with deposits amounting to US$38.3 million.

 ”Besides this, he also has seven bank accounts under the Union Bank Switzerland with deposits of US$27 million, and another account under HSBC Bank in Jersey which he may have withdrawn,” she said.

 ”These add up to deposits of up to US$159 million or an equivalent to RM588.67 million”. [Shahnaz Abdul Majid]

While giving her testimony the Chief Minister’s daughter-in-law also confirmed what many including Sarawak Report have long concluded.  She described Taib as the richest man in Malaysia, if not South East Asia, given his rampant exploitation of the resources of the state.

That allegation did not escape the horrified onlookers in Switzerland, who fear that much of the profit of the illegal destruction of the Borneo Rainforest may lie protected by their own banking system.

These MPs clearly hope that if they cannot repair the destruction of Sarawak’s rainforest they would at least be able to ensure the profits are returned to help the people of Sarawak, whose lives have been blighted by the greed and destruction of their greedy ruler over the past 30 years.

Just because he has got away with it up till now does not mean Taib should think he can get away with it for ever.

The issue has already been reported in the top Swiss paper Sonntagszeitung.  For a translation click HERE.


  1. […] by Datuk Seri Mahmud. These allegations, made in court, could legally be repeated without fear of legal action. They formed the basis of Sarawak Report and Bruno Manser Fund’s representations to […]

    Pingback by All stratas of Sarawak attacked | Sarawak Blogs — December 4, 2014 @ 11:46 PM | Reply

  2. Financial criminals of the worst kind. Look good outside but really rotten inside.

    Comment by anak sarawak — January 16, 2013 @ 12:14 PM | Reply

  3. Not only Taib’s Families account but all his cronies as well….. Naim, Shin Yang and Samling!

    Comment by Rod — January 15, 2013 @ 6:44 PM | Reply

  4. MACC still having their hands inside their anus!

    Comment by Rod — January 15, 2013 @ 6:41 PM | Reply

    • …and sucking their thumbs saying they are powerless. MACC is crap ! It can only investigate the little fishes.

      Comment by rc — January 16, 2013 @ 12:28 AM | Reply

  5. Let’s us all think what appropriate punishments should be given to the thief, who happens to be Chief Minister, Finance Minister and Minister of Resources.

    I suggest we apply Muslim law.

    Let his both hands and legs be chopped off! This is the punishment for a very big thief like Taib.

    But first, people of Kuching must be vigilant, guard the airports and ports, and not let him escape from Sarawak.

    Comment by Anak Sarawak — January 15, 2013 @ 6:37 PM | Reply

    • I don’t agree using Muslim law.

      Taib must be charged in court.

      Put into prison.

      Then hanged for his corruptions and thieving activities resulting in the lives of so many unfortunate Sarawakians and causing so much misery to the people, especially natives, of Sarawak.

      He must be hanged.

      No two ways about it.

      Comment by Sarawak people — January 15, 2013 @ 11:33 PM | Reply


    Comment by VINCENT AK PAUL — January 15, 2013 @ 3:48 PM | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: