Switzerland To Probe Taib Mahmud’s Assets
President Calmy-Rey says her government views allegations of embezzlement with “great interest”.
PETALING JAYA: A Swiss anti-graft agency is set to look into Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s bank accounts in the European state.
Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey said this in an April 8 letter to Borneo rainforest activist group Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF).
“We have read your precise description of the situation with Taib and his entourage as well as their relations with Switzerlandwith great interest,” she said.
She added that the agency in charge of looking into the matter was the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).
Commending the BMF for its stand against corruption, Calmy-Rey said her government viewed the embezzlement of funds into Switzerlandwith “great interest”.
“Switzerlandhas, during the last 15 years, restituted approximately 1.7 billion Swiss Francs, more than any other financial centre of comparable size,” she said.
Calmy-Rey’s government has frozen assets connected to troubled countries such asTunisia,EgyptandLibya.
She warned in her letter to BMF that withdrawing frozen assets back to the countries in question would be slow and difficult, especially if the “persons concerned” were still in power.
“As long as the persons concerned are in power, the necessary requests for judicial assistance are hardly likely to be submitted,” she said.
“Without any prospect of a judicial examination of the potentially criminal origin of such assets, however, it makes little sense to freeze them,” the Swiss president said.
In early February this year, BMF revealed that there were 49 Taib-connected companies worldwide, including several inAustralia,Canadaand theUnited States.
The group blames Taib for the widespread deforestation of theSarawakand alleges that he has gained from logging concessions.
— Free Malaysia Today