September 12, 2011
Chief Minister Taib is accused of using cozy ties with the state's logging and plantation companies to acquire vast amounts of wealth. Research by the Sarawak Report, a muckraking group, suggests that Taib's family controls hundreds of millions of dollars in overseas assets, including real estate in the United States and Canada. Taib is already under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for alleged timber corruption during his 30 years in office. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, FINMA, in May announced an investigation into Taib assets in Switzerland.
The newest development out of Germany came after the Bruno Manser Fund and other groups sent a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling attention to Deutsche Bank's "close business relations" with Taib.
In a statement, the Bruno Manser Fund explained the ties between the German bank and the chief minister:
Since 2004, Deutsche Bank has processed transactions worth several hundred million euros for the Sarawak government and is engaged in a joint venture in Malaysia with the Cahya Mata Sarawak company (CMS), which is controlled by the Taib family.
CMS and Deutsche Bank are the principal shareholders of the finance company K & N Kenanga Holdings, domiciled in Kuala Lumpur, with its subsidiary Kenanga Deutsche Futures, an accredited broker at the Malaysian stock exchange. The CMS construction conglomerate essentially lives off assignments that are awarded by the Taib government without public tenders. CMS thus benefited greatly from the construction of the disputed Bakun dam and has a ten-year contract for maintaining the entire road network in Sarawak, Malaysia's biggest federal state.
BaFin "has already made a start on clarifying the situation," according to the ministry.
The Bruno Manser Fund is calling for the German government to freeze any assets in Germany that belong to the Taib family.
Deutsche Bank in Europe and the United States did not immediately respond to requests for comment from mongabay.com.