Taib under investigation in the UK

British government to monitor Malaysia’s anti-corruption agency

By Bruno Manser Fund

Foreign and Commonwealth Office alerted over alleged money-laundering by Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud (“Taib”) in the United Kingdom

(LONDON, UK). The British government will be monitoring the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigation into Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud (“Taib”) and will use its findings “to support a UK investigation”. This has been confirmed in a letter to the Bruno Manser Fund from British Minister of State, Jeremy Browne, the Minister who holds responsibility for Britain’s relations with Malaysia.

Browne confirms that the UK government has started looking into alleged Taib family money-laundering in the UK and British offshore financial centres. According to the Minister, a complaint by the Bruno Manser Fund has been “forwarded to the relevant UK authorities”. “We are also aware, as your letter states, that the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) has announced the opening of its own investigation into Taib earlier this year.”

“The UK attaches considerable importance to the integrity and supervision of its financial services industry and property sector, so concrete allegations of money laundering are taken very seriously.” The Minister also stated that the British and Malaysian Governments had signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Transnational Crime, “which foresees close cooperation on money laundering and other illegal activities.”

The Bruno Manser Fund had alerted British Prime Minister David Cameron about suspected money-laundering by the Taib family and called on the British government to freeze illicit Taib assets in the UK. The Taibs’ business flagship in the UK is Ridgeford Properties, a property company controlled by Taib’s daughter Jamilah Taib Murray and his Canadian son-in-law, Sean Murray. Ridgeford Properties holds luxury properties in Central London estimated to be worth several hundred million pounds.

Prior to the British government, the Swiss and German bank regulators had announced that they would look into potential Taib-related dealings in their countries. Australia’s Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Canada’s Finance Minister James Flaherty had also assured the Bruno Manser Fund that their governments were taking money-laundering allegations against the Taib family very seriously and would look into the matter.