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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).

 (This post is part of an ongoing series of investigative articles by La politica into Sakto Corporation and the Ottawa commercial real estate market. If you have any tips please email them to lapoliticaeslapolitica[at]gmail[dot]com. For related stories see: Malaysian fugitive Jho Low takes a leaf from Jamilah Taib’s playbook, and
 In Cozy Ottawa, Philanthropy Provides Good Cover for Sakto Corporation, and Lady Luck Keeps Shining on Ottawa's Sakto Corporation.)

Friday, 13 July 2018

In Cozy Ottawa, Philanthropy Provides Good Cover for Sakto Corporation

The pressure is mounting on Ottawa real-estate power couple Jamilah Taib Murray, her husband Sean Murray, and their Ottawa-headquartered firm Sakto Corporation. A new government in Malaysia is facing calls to investigate Jamilah Taib Murray’s father, Taib Mahmud, and if necessary to press criminal charges.  Taib Mahmud is a Malaysian politician who has faced decades of accusations that he accumulated billions of dollars of ill-gotten gains by raping the rainforest in Sarawak, Borneo, and then hiding that money in companies controlled by him and his family.
Jamilah Taib Murray and Sean Murray at a gala
for Elmwood School in Rockcliffe Park 

Inevitably, the pressure from Malaysia is raising the temperature back in Canada.  To date, the Canadian courts, and even Canada’s National Contact Point for the OECD, have been either unable or unwilling to draw back the curtain on Sakto Corporation. But as the heat is turned up abroad it will be harder to avoid the speculation that some of Taib’s ill-gotten gains have found their way across the Pacific.

For more La politica coverage of this story, see: Malaysian fugitive Jho Low takes a leaf from Jamilah Taib’s playbook and Jamilah Taib, Chair of Ottawa’s Sakto Corp, May Soon be of Interest to Authorities in Malaysia and Canada, and Lady Luck Keeps Shining on Ottawa's Sakto Corporation. La politica is continuing to follow this story. Send tips to: lapoliticaeslapolitica[at]gmail[dot]com

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Last minute PRI spending won't stop Morena in Zacatecas

La politica es la politica has posted 32 articles - one for each state in Mexico, including Mexico City - in advance of the July 1, 2018, presidential election. For links to all 32 articles, scroll to the bottom of this post.

The Mexican state of Zacatecas is located in north-central Mexico, with a population of about 1.6 million. The capital is Zacatecas City. As has been true since the colonial period, Zacatecas’ dominant sector is mining, accounting for about 13% of the state’s GDP. This is followed by manufacturing, at 12%, which is also the main source of foreign direct investment.

Politically, Zacatecas is quite diverse. Its governor, Alejandro Tello Cristerna, is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the same party as the sitting president, Enrique Peña Nieto. Of the three federal senators from Zacatecas, two are members of the left-of-center Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), with the third being with the right-of-center National Action Party (PAN).

Zacatecas will be deploying 3,000 officers – municipal, state, and federal – to ensure that things go peacefully on July 1, with special attention given to the municipalities of the City of Zacatecas, Guadalupe, Fresnillo, Nochistlán, and some towns in the southeast. 

Much of the security will be committed to protecting the counting and transport of the ballots themselves, and will include elements of the uniformed military. However, Two candidates in Zacatecas have requested police protection: one from a candidate in Trancoso, and another from Fresnillo.

In Yucatán, it's a horse race between PAN and PRI candidates for governor

La politica es la politica has posted 32 articles - one for each state in Mexico, including Mexico City - in advance of the July 1, 2018, presidential election. For links to all 32 articles, scroll to the bottom of this post.

The state of Yucatán is in southeast Mexico, occupying the the northern part of the Yucatán Peninsula. The state population is about 1.1 million, and the colonial city of Mérida is the state capital.

Yucatán has one of the lowest crime rates in Mexico, and this is reflected in the polling. For the upcoming election – the people of Yucatán are voting for a new governor as well as federal deputies and, of course, the president of the republic – the major concern is the economy and unemployment (29% of respondents). This is followed by combatting corruption (25%), insecurity (21%), and poverty (20%).

Aside from the low crime rate, Yucatán also has some good economic news. In March the state announced it would invest 35 million pesos (~US $1.9 million) to enhance the restoration of ancient Mayan cities. As well, in early May the German manufacturer Leoni AG – which makes wires, cables and wiring systems, primarily for the automotive industry – announced that it had started building a 40,000-square-meter factory in Mérida, where it will provide direct employment to 2,000 people, and estimated indirect employment to an additional 10,000.

Veracruz emerges from PRI nightmare to elect a new governor

La politica es la politica has posted 32 articles - one for each state in Mexico, including Mexico City - in advance of the July 1, 2018, presidential election. For links to all 32 articles, scroll to the bottom of this post.

The state of Veracruz, which has a population of about 8.2 million, snakes down Mexico’s eastern coast with the Gulf of Mexico. Veracruz, which has as its capital the port city of the same name, is an important economic driver for Mexico, particularly in the agriculture and petroleum sectors.

Politically, the state’s governor, Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares, is a member of the right-of-center National Action Party (PAN), as is one of the two federal senators. The other two senators belong to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which is also the party of the sitting president, Enrique Peña Nieto.

To understand what’s going on in Veracruz one has to address its recent political history. For 48 days until December 1, 2016, there was an interim PRI governor, Flavino Ríos Alvarado, who assumed power after the disastrous rule of Javier Duarte de Ochoa (1 December 2010 – 12 October 2016), a notorious kleptocrat whose administration was marked by excessive violence and corruption. Federal auditors allege he and his associates misappropriated more than 55 billion pesos (~$US 3 billion at the time of the alleged crimes) via a series of shell companies.