BRUNO MANSER FUND, BASEL / SWITZERLAND
20 September 2012
Taib family’s illicit assets estimated at over 20 billion US dollars
Bruno Manser Fund has released new report on the business interests and the personal wealth of Sarawak Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud, and his family members
(BRUSSELS, BELGIUM) A new report released today by the Bruno Manser Fund puts the illicit assets of Taib Mahmud (“Taib”), the long-term Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, at over 20 billion US dollars. Taib Mahmud himself, the “godfather” of the Taib family business empire, has been rated at USD 15 billion, making him Malaysia’s richest man. The report entitled “The Taib Timber Mafia. Facts and Figures on Politically Exposed Persons from Sarawak, Malaysia” was released today in Brussels on the occasion of a visit of the Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Bernard Dompok, to the European Commission.
The Bruno Manser Fund’s report describes in detail the business activities and personal wealth of twenty members of the Taib family, one of South East Asia’s most notorious kleptocratic clans with business interests in Malaysia, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries.
The Bruno Manser Fund estimates the combined net worth of twenty Taib family members to be close to USD 21 billion, which has been acquired through the almost complete political and economic control of Sarawak, a state the size of England, over a period of three decades. In particular, the Taibs have established monopolies on the granting of timber and plantation concessions, the export of timber to third countries, the maintenance of public roads and also on the production and sale of cement and a number of other construction materials. The Taib family’s business outfits, particularly its flagship company Cahya Mata Sarawak, have also benefited from untendered public contracts worth hundreds of millions of US dollars.
Thanks to his control over all the log exports from Sarawak, Taib’s brother, Onn Mahmud, has been rated the second richest family member, with an estimated net worth of USD 2 billion. Taib’s elder son, Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib, a major player in the Sarawak construction, property and energy business, has been rated at USD 1.5 billion. Next in line are Taib’s Canada-based socialite daughter, Jamilah Taib Murray (USD 1 billion), Taib’s brother and timber entrepreneur Tufail Mahmud (USD 600 million), sister Raziah Mahmud (USD 500 million), daughter Hanifah (USD 400 million) and son Sulaiman (USD 300 million). The founder of the Ta Ann timber conglomerate and Sarawak Energy chairman, Hamed Sepawi, a first cousin of the Sarawak Chief Minister is rated at USD 175 million.
The Bruno Manser Fund is asking governments and banks around the globe to freeze Taib family assets. The Taibs are being compared to the Suharto and Marcos clans who have also stolen billions from their countries. According to Transparency International, former Indonesian President Suharto embezzled USD 15 to 35 billion, while former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos is thought to have stolen between USD 20 and USD 900 billion.
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