Swiss lawmakers push for freeze of Taib family assets
2:28PM Jan 15, 2013 Up to 22 Swiss MPs have filed a motion in their Parliament urging the immediate freeze of assets belonging to Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and his family that 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), that the Taib family be declared a criminal organisation.
According to Swiss-based environmental NGO 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 statement, 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.
Shahnaz 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 statement quoted Sommaruga as saying.
In his submission to the Swiss 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 states in the submission, which was signed by 21 other MPs.
Sommaruga 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, during the state legislative assembly in June 2011, denied 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”.