Sarawak campaigners rally in Toronto, speak at shareholder assembly to protest against the Canadia finance giant’s deals with Politically Exposed Foreign Persons (PEFPs) from Malaysia
TORONTO, CANADA. The top management and close to 200 shareholders of Manulife Financial, the Canadian insurance and finance services provider, have today witnessed a protest against the company’s deals with the family of Malaysian politician-cum-businessman, Taib Mahmud.
Mutang Urud, an indigenous campaigner from Sarawak, addressed Manulife’s management during the annual shareholder meeting. He criticized the multi-million-dollar mortgages to Sakto and asked the management if the company had applied proper customer due diligence. "Did you know that Sakto has been founded by the family of a politician who made himself the richest man of Sarawak?", Mutang Urud asked. "Taib Mahmud made his millions by raping the Borneo rainforest and he is laundering his illicit funds overseas. We strongly disagree with Manulife’s dealings with Sakto."
Manulife Chairman, Richard B. DeWolfe, replied that his company would look into the issue and that they took the issue of due diligence in dealings with Politically Exposed Foreign Persons (PEFP) seriously.
According to a new Bruno Manser Fund report, Manulife have provided two sets of mortgages over $73 million each to Sakto, an Ottawa-based property developer run by Taib Mahmud’s daughter, Jamilah Taib Murray, and her Canadian husband, Sean Murray. The mortgages have been secured on three Ottawa properties known as the Preston Square development.
Earlier this week, Malaysian media The Edge and Free Malaysia Today reported that HSBC had barred all members of the Taib family from its banking. HSBC Malaysia confirmed it had decided to "wind down" its banking business in Sarawak due to "commercial reasons" but declined to comment on the Taib family.
Taib Mahmud, the former Chief Minister and current Governor of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, is under investigation by Malaysia’s Anti Corruption Commission (MACC). The Taib family has stakes in over 400 businesses in 25 countries, estimated at USD 20 billion.
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