Swiss TV reports on Jamilah Taib defamation suit
Malaysian politician’s daughter not accountable for unexplained wealth, claims her Swiss lawyer
(BASEL, SWITZERLAND) A Swiss television news show on legal proceedings involving the daughter of a high-ranking Malaysian politician raises questions on the accountability of politically exposed persons (PEPs) for their unexplained wealth.
“10vor10”, an investigative news broadcast by Swiss national television SRF, reported last night on the legal proceedings initiated by Jamilah Taib Murray, a daughter of Sarawak Governor Abdul Taib Mahmud, against the Bruno Manser Fonds, a Swiss NGO.
In 2019, Taib Murray sued the Bruno Manser Fonds in a Swiss court for defamation for linking her enormous wealth to corruption in Sarawak, a state which her father has ruled as a strong-man politician for over three decades.
Taib Murray who lives in Canada is linked to real estate worth more than US$ 300 million in Canada, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. In 2011, her father admitted that he provided her the means to launch her property business but refused to disclose the exact amount.
When questioned on the origins of her wealth, Thomas Weibel, partner at Vischer lawyers, said: „We are not talking about Mr. Taib’s wealth. We are talking about a Canadian real estate corporation and its directors. [...] Yes, she is the daughter of Mr. Taib. […] But she owes this information to noone. She answers to the Canadian government. She answers to her auditors. But to say ‘you have to explain your wealth’, that’s a no-go.”
Professor Mark Pieth, an internationally-renowned corruption expert, said he was worried by Taib Murray’s lawsuit against the Bruno Manser Fonds which, if successful, might stifle civil society’s ability to blow the whistle on bribery and other corporate crimes.
The Bruno Manser Fonds is currently preparing the legal defence against Taib Murray’s defamation suit. The case is expected to be heard by the Basel Civil Court in mid-2020.
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