Monday 3 June 2019

Jamilah Taib Murray continues campaign against Swiss NGO

Back in February of this year a Swiss court ordered the Malaysian-Canadian entrepreneur Jamilah Taib Murray and her Canadian husband Sean Murray to pay C$220,000 in damages, as well as C$26,000 in court costs, to the Swiss NGO Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF), which campaigns on behalf of rainforests and the people who live in them.
Jamilah Taib Murray

The initial ruling was upheld at the end of May, with the Court of Appeal ordering payment of an additional C$18,000 in damages and $C13,500 in court costs.

But this battle is far from over. Directly after the loss of the appeal, Thomas Weibel, the Swiss lawyer for Jamilah Taib Murray and Sean Murray, confirmed that the defamation lawsuit against BMF and its Executive Director, Lukas Straumann, was continuing.

As with the initial attempt at an injunction, the claim is that BMF and Straumann have engaged in a multi-year campaign of unfounded allegations against the Taib Murrays. On the Canadian front, the Taib Murrays' Canadian lawyers at noticia LLP, via the website, have said that the "full legal attention" of the complainants will now be directed at resolving the defamation suit.

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Scotiabank offices raided by prosecutors in Costa Rica

On February 21, 2019, the Prosecutor in the Central American country of Costa Rica raided the offices of the Canadian multinational Scotiabank, claiming that the bank had failed to provide the government with information on accounts and deposits that could allegedly implicate Alejandro Toledo, the former president of Peru, with money laundering.
Scotiabank's offices in the Sabana Norte district,
in San Jose,  Costa Rica, were raided on February 21

During his presidency, Toledo is believed to have received C$26 million in bribes from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht S.A. as payment to secure infrastructure contracts.

Toledo was last reported to be in the United States, with Peru having requested extradition. Interpol has had a red notice out for the former politician since May, 2017.

Bribery allegations against Odebrecht broke in Brazil in 2015. Since then, the company has been connected to corruption in at least ten countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, with some of the allegations dating back many years.

Friday 22 February 2019

Jamilah Taib and Sean Murray ordered to pay $220,000 to Swiss NGO

A Swiss court has ordered the Malaysian-Canadian entrepreneur Jamilah Taib Murray and her Canadian husband Sean Murray to pay C$220,000 in damages, as well as C$26,000 in court costs, to the Swiss NGO Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF).

(For an update on this story, see Jamilah Taib Murray continues campaign against Swiss NGO.)

This decision is the first round in a larger defamation suit. Jamilah Taib Murray and Sean Murray, who are active in philanthropic circles in Ottawa, are continuing to seek a permanent injunction that would ban 255 publications and 1,100 “infringing statements” allegedly made by BMF. The Ottawa couple are specifically named as plaintiffs in the suit, as are two of their companies, Sakto Corporation and Sakto Development Corporation.
The BMF team after the court victory in Basel, Switzerland

BMF, named in honour of the late Swiss environmentalist Bruno Manser, has been running a campaign against deforestation in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo. It claims that over many years Jamilah Taib Murray, as the daughter of Sarawak’s chief minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud, has received significant financial support from her father, who is alleged to have engaged in corrupt practices in Malaysia.

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Ashbury alumnus and son of Taib Mahmud ordered to pay $9.4 million to ex wife

A Shariah Appeal Court in Kuala Lumpur has ordered Mahmud Bekir to pay RM30 million (C$9.4 million) for “mutaah” or conciliatory gifts to his former wife, Shahnaz Majid. Bekir is the son of Taib Mahmud, the governor of the state of Sarawak, and younger brother to Jamilah Taib, Chair of Ottawa’s Sakto Corp.
Abu Bekir Taib

The appeal court in Malaysia upheld a 2016 ruling, with the judge saying that  “there is no error under Islamic law and principles made by our Shariah High Court colleague in awarding the RM30 million.”

The court proceedings were notable for revealing some of the unsavoury aspect of Sharia law. Bekir’s lawyers claimed he found out his wife was not a virgin on their wedding night, and that according to Sharia law this would then be a mitigating factor with regard to compensation. The judge subsequently allowed Bekir’s lawyers to include this information in their submission, but to no avail.

Monday 17 September 2018

Malaysian fugitive Jho Low takes a leaf from Jamilah Taib’s playbook

Lawyers for Low Taek Jho (known as Jho Low), a Malaysian financier who is now wanted by Interpol in connection with the massive 1Malaysia Development Bh (1MDB) scandal, have launched a website in his defense, with the language and tactics almost identical to those used by Ottawa-headquartered Sakto Corp and its Chair, Jamilah Taib, who are fighting back against allegations that Ms. Taib laundered funds coming from her father, the Malaysian politician and alleged kleptocrat Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) is on the run from Interpol

Proclaiming his innocence, Jho Low laments the publication of Billion Dollar Whale, an account of the 1MDB scandal written by Wall Street Journal reporters Tom Wright and Bradley Hope. Jho Low writes of Billion Dollar Whale that: “Many of the allegations have originated from blog posts, improper leaks from within Governmental agencies around the world, or unproven allegations filed in court.”

In describing the tactics used by Lukas Straumann – the executive director of Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF), a Swiss NGO which is now facing a gag order from Jamilah Taib and Sakto Corp in civil court in Switzerland – Ms. Taib’s lawyers similarly write that BMF and Mr. Straumann: “Make aggressive use of social media, multiple websites and blogs to create the impression that their allegations of money laundering are valid and widely accepted.”

Friday 17 August 2018

Hundreds of trans women are being murdered in Mexico – and nothing is done

Since June 14 of this year at least ten trans women have been murdered in Mexico, continuing a cycle of violence and impunity that has claimed over 400 lives in the past decade.

The most recent case was the killing of the winner of a beauty queen pageant in the municipality of Martínez de la Torre, in the State of Veracruz. The half-naked body of Alaska Bout was found on July 25 with signs of torture and barbed wire wrapped around her neck.
Alaska Bout

Her death has resulted in a complaint from the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Specific concern has been raised with regard to security in Veracruz. According to the social anthropology research center (known as CIESAS, or “Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social”), Veracruz ranks first for the murder of trans people.

Alaska Bout was the second gay pageant queen to be assassinated this year. In May Yamileth Quintero, winner of a beauty contest in Elota, Sinaloa, was killed in the state capital of Culiacán. As a beauty queen, the death of Alaska received widespread media attention in Mexico, unlike the murders of other trans women, which were much lower profile. This has resulted in a critique that Alaska, as a well-known and talented performer, had a life that was valued higher than those trans women who lead more marginal lives, given that some of the murdered individuals were sex trade workers.

Thursday 9 August 2018

Jamilah Taib, Chair of Ottawa’s Sakto Corp, May Soon be of Interest to Authorities in Malaysia and Canada

Calls in Malaysia to expand the new government’s anti-corruption campaign to the province of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, are echoing across the Pacific to the small and insular commercial real estate community in Ottawa, Canada. 

Jamilah Taib and Andrew Leslie, MP for Orléans
At the center of the brewing storm is Ottawa-headquartered Sakto Corporation, which has hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate assets in Canada. Sakto Corporation’s Chair is Jamilah Taib, the eldest daughter of Abdul Taib Mahmud, the governor and former chief minister of Sarawak.

Abdul Taib Mahmud is a “politically exposed person” (PEP) as defined by Canada’s Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Regulations (PCMLTFR).

Jamilah Taib started her career in real estate in Ottawa with a financial gift from her father. The amount of that gift has never been revealed, though Abdul Taib Mahmud, a career public servant of humble origins, has claimed that the source of the money was a gratuity from the federal government of Malaysia.