Home Civil Society Voices 2012 Civil Society Voices Swiss A-G opens criminal case against UBS over Malaysian money-laundering affair

Swiss A-G opens criminal case against UBS over Malaysian money-laundering affair

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Switzerland’s Attorney General has opened a criminal case against UBS, the Swiss banking group, over suspected money-laundering of timber corruption proceeds from the Malaysian state of Sabah in Borneo. This has been confirmed today by the Office of the Attorney General in the Swiss capital, Bern, reports Bruno Manser Fund.

The case against UBS was opened on 29 August 2012, following a criminal complaint by the Bruno Manser Fund over the bank’s close ties with Musa Aman, Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sabah. Musa Aman and his nominees have been accused of laundering over US$90m of corruption proceeds from the tropical timber business in Sabah, Borneo, through a number of UBS bank accounts in Hong Kong. Musa Aman also has a personal bank account with UBS in Zurich. According to the Bruno Manser Fund, UBS has failed to properly apply due diligence, as is required by law when dealing with Politically Exposed Persons (PEP). Musa Aman is not only head of the Sabah state government but also the brother of the Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anifah Aman.

The case is based on Switzerland’s tough anti-money-laundering legislation, which makes it a criminal offence for Swiss companies to be involved in laundering the proceeds of corruption and other crime in their worldwide activities.

The Swiss case is hitting the Malaysian government at a critical moment, just two weeks before the announced visit of the British royal couple, Prince William and Kate Middleton. The Duke and Duchess are planning to visit Sabah on 15 September 2012 in order to see the “largest remaining rainforest” at Danum Valley. Sabah’s head of government, Musa Aman, has personally benefited from the large-scale logging of the nearby tropical rainforests, one of the world’s most biodiverse habitats.

READ MORE:  Timber giant namedrops local activist it is suing to make itself look good

Source: http://www.bmf.ch/en/

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Gopal Raj Kumar
4 Sep 2012 6.15am

I once more raise with you the selective censorship you practice on your blog Aliran. You remove the names of (deleted) and (deleted) out of fear. Who pays you and what reasons do you have to consider the publication of their names potentially libellous yet not the publicaiton of the identify of the public official the subject of Swiss allegations? The World Wildlife Organization, Greenpeace and other groups including the Swiss government in their own reports identified workers with a nexus to these family owned businesses as being tied to small militias (armed groups) in the forestry business in Sabah and Sarawak. These groups are suspects who may have been behind the disapearance of the Swiss environmentalist. The allegations raised against them are more than on the basis of probability. But siilence and violence are powerful motivators which it appears you too could be subject of. Not so brave after all. Whats libellous about the truth? You have my IP address and can always re direct any criticism to it. It is not rocket science. Libel (meaning defamation) in the context of what you allege cannot… Read more »

Gopal Raj Kumar
2 Sep 2012 1.47pm

This is a case of wishful thinking and a far fetched claim at smearing a state official outside jurisdiction. The Swiss recently agreed and applied the doctrine of sovereign immunity in a matter involving a complaint by the Pakistani opposition and NGO’s in that country. They made a similar application to have Asif Zardari Pakistan’s prime minister charged under Swiss law for a similar offence of money laundering athe proceeds of corruption through Swiss financial institutions. The problem with Aliran and other anti Malaysian groups parading as justice, human rights and democracy promoting groups is that they are as the Australians would say “… ing in the wind”. It will blow back on them. Corruption is a two way street. Forestry corruption in Sarawak and in Sabah is (allegedly) monopolistically in the hands of (certain) clans and their offshoots. It has long been (believed) that (certain) companies in the business were (allegedly) complicit in the disapearance of the Swiss national who (vanished) in the forests of Borneo … The idea of implicating (someone) on corruption charges is far fetched to say the least unless one adopts… Read more »

2 Sep 2012 3.58pm

Above comment moderated to remove racial language and potentially libelous allegations.

najib manaukau
1 Sep 2012 5.42pm

If the AG in Switzerland is able to do that, what the hell is the AG in Malaysia doing ? To all my brothers and sisters in east Malaysia and also to ensure that your wealth and the country to remain as pristine as it should be make sure you come out in full force to vote the morons out of Putrajaya in the coming GE … It is decades since you became a part of Malaysia and just look around you, what progress have you learned or achieved from … the morons from Umno ? Soon very soon your country will be stripped bear and you will have nothing left for your children and your grand children !

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