Hornbill Unleashed

June 26, 2014

Taib’s son bought Ferrari for eight-year-old, divorce trial told

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Abdul Taib arrive Kuala Lumpur Syariah Court, October 11, 2013. — Picture by Saw Siow FengSYED JAYMAL ZAHIIDJUNE

Sarawak tycoon Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir told his divorce retrial today that he had bought a Ferrari Modena worth RM950,000 for his son when the boy was only eight, in a testimony meant to counter allegations of negligence by his ex-wife.

The son of Sarawak governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud said the used Ferrari was one of the assets provided to Shahnaz Abdul Majid and their son, Raden Murya Abdul Taib Mahmud, now 20, after they were separated in 1999.

“It was a used Ferrari Modena… I bought it when he was eight years old. I told him from the very beginning that it was his car,” Abu Bekir told reporters outside the Kuala Lumpur Shariah High Court here after testifying earlier.

The couple formally filed for a divorce in 2011.

Abu Bekir’s wealth has been in the spotlight after Shahnaz, in her attempt to get a RM400 million divorce settlement, claimed the latter had amassed assets worth USD700 million (RM2.5 billion) offshore and abroad.

But the son of the Sarawak governor maintained today that Shahnaz’s claims were exaggerated, despite testifying that he had provided his ex-wife with assets worth close to RM4 million and a monthly allowance of RM10,000 for the 12 years since they separated.

“I don’t have that kind of money. I also have four other children to feed,” he said.

Earlier today, Abu Bekir testified that he had provided Shahnaz with a bungalow in the upscale neighbourhood of Damansara Heights worth RM2 million, a Cherokee Jeep worth RM600,000, a BMW X5 worth RM700,000 and a Mercedes S Class worth RM800,000.

The cars were all listed under their company, Sarawak Capital Sdn Bhd, of which Shahnaz was a director and one of the main shareholders.

The bungalow, on the other hand, was bought with a loan of RM1.7 million, while the rest were paid by cash, the court was told.

Abu Bekir said he had provided his ex-wife and son with the assets and money because he did not want to see them suffer.

“I didn’t want to see my wife living aimlessly because she had no husband, because I did not come back to them,” he said.

The tycoon also said that he had only filed for a divorce 12 years after they had been separated because his parents had advised against it, as their son was still a minor then.

He then claimed he had tried to ask for a “peaceful” divorce from Shahnaz.

Abu Bekir had previously claimed that he had divorced Shahnaz for her alleged erratic behaviour that followed years of suspicion that her ex-husband was having extramarital affairs.

Their divorce immediately grabbed media attention after Shahnaz filed for a RM400 million settlement, an amount she justified with claims that the son of Sarawak governor is worth “billions of ringgit”.

Abu Bekir has insisted that his ex-wife is making ridiculous assertions, including hiring “fraudsters”, private investigator Cullen Johnson and his wife Elaine White, to forge documents to support her claims.

“Shahnaz’s team had hired Cullen and his wife Elaine White to forge documents… they are all fake. I will present the evidence in the future.

“This is a serious attempt to cheat. We are not poor; of course, we have businesses… and we are successful but we don’t have US$700 million in offshore accounts,” he said.

Shahnaz, sister to popular singer Datuk Sheila Majid, previously testified that Abu Bekir has an estimated RM1 billion in assets locally and some US$700 million (RM2.2 billion) in bank accounts globally.

She had engaged the services of chartered accountant Andrew Heng, who is a partner at the firm linked to prominent London-based Baker Tilly Monterio Heng, to audit Abu Bekir’s wealth locally and found that the latter’s total assets in Malaysia ranged from around RM916 million to over RM1.33 billion, with the bulk being earnings from the plantation industry.

But Abu Bekir asked the Shariah High Court here to check her claims on his alleged foreign wealth, claiming it was based “lies, distortions and misrepresentations”.

He had previously demanded that she show evidence to back her claims pertaining to the foreign accounts, including testimonies from bank managers from the international banks.

The hearing for the divorce retrial will resume on September 2.

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