The Bruno Manser Fund has today released a black list of companies related to the family of Abdul Taib Mahmud, the long-serving Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. The black list contains the names and company numbers of 49 companies in eight countries which are thought to be worth hundreds of millions, if not billions, of US dollars. A considerable number of the companies is active in the real estate and property sector.

The black list can be accessed under: http://stop-timber-corruption.org/resources

Taib Mahmud, who has been Chief Minister, Finance Minister and State Planning and Resources Minister of Sarawak since 1981, has an impressive track record of corruption and abuse of public funds. According to Malaysia’s Democratic Action Party (DAP), Taib has failed to account for a staggering 4.8 billion Malaysian ringgits (1.58 billion US dollars) of Sarawak state funds over the past three years alone.

In 2007, the Tokyo tax authorities uncovered a massive corruption scheme that involved the payment of kickbacks to the Taib family. In return, nine Japanese shipping companies had received export licences to carry logs to Japan, Sarawak’s largest timber export market.

The black list names 13 Malaysian companies, 10 Australian companies, 9 Canadian companies,7 Hong Kong companies, 4 US companies, 3 companies on the British Virgin Islands and 1 company in Jersey. Among the companies listed are Sakto, a significant Ottawa-based property developer, Ridgeford Properties, a London property company active in the high-end market, and Wallysons, the owners of the FBI Northwestern Regional Headquarters building in Seattle.

Among the Malaysian companies, Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS), the state’s largest private company, and the Ta Ann logging group are most notable. The black list’s intention is to help the listed countries’ anti-corruption and anti-money-laundering authorities identify and freeze illicit Taib assets in their countries. Corruption has been identified as one of the main drivers of deforestation in Sarawak. The list will be regularly updated.

Please contact us for more information: Bruno Manser Fonds, Socinstrasse 37, 4051 Basel / Switzerland, +41 61 261 94 74