Musa Aman, Sabah Chief Minister; UBS Bank; and the Swiss Federal Court…

Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Musa bin Haji Aman is the 14th and current Chief Minister of the state of Sabah in Malaysia, in office since 2003. Wikipedia

Sarawak Report

Spotlight Switches Back To Musa Aman And Exposes Another Swiss Bank!

24 Jun 2016

As international prosecutors continue to unravel 1MDB, an earlier investigation by Sarawak Report has achieved a separate landmark ruling in Switzerland, with the top bank UBS ordered to produce documents relating to Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman’s vast earnings from timber kick-backs.

Sarawak Report exposed Sabah’s shocking timber corruption in a series of articles in 2012.  Using evidence obtained from a web of off-shore timber companies, related to Singapore and Hong Kong bank accounts, we detailed how just shy of a hundred million dollars had been siphoned out by Musa, much of it funnelled directly into his Zurich bank accounts.

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Musa and Chia

Fronting the network of companies was youthful Michael Chia, son of a business associate of Musa Aman’s, making for an uncanny parallel with Jho Low and his own relationship with Malaysia’s federal leader, Najib Razak.

Chia was originally arrested in Hong Kong, just before the Sabah state election, with a bag full of millions of dollars in cash.  The subsequent investigation sparked an MACC investigation in Malaysia and the discovery of substantial evidence of long-suspected extensive timber corruption in the state, managed by Aman.

In another parallel to the later federal scandal unearthed by SR, Najib closed down all investigations into the matter, despite overwhelming evidence handed to the then Attorney General (a relative of Musa) by investigators.

Since the cash in Musa’s bank accounts could not be denied, however Najib again fell back on the excuse that the money was meant for election expenses, as the reason for not pressing charges. This was despite records of numerous payments to Musa’s own sons and personal employees.

Like Taib Mahmud in neighbouring Sarawak, Musa has been a career civil servant, UMNO treasurer and politician, positions which do not legitimately provide the enormous sums flowing through his bank accounts.

This is something that has been mentioned numerous times in the series of articles on Musa’s money written by Sarawak Report and it is a basic point that should likewise have been picked up under money-laundering regulations by the various international banks, particularly UBS and HSBC, which handled Musa’s huge transactions.

UBS has fought off the official investigators on privacy grounds, refusing to produce the evidence requested by officials.  On Thursday, after a hearing that lasted a full year on this issue, the Swiss Court has dramatically ruled in favour of the prosecutor and against the country’s biggest bank.

BMF has closely followed the case:

“Despite its public announcement that it was fully cooperating with the investigation, UBS had key documents on its relationship with Musa Aman sealed and refused to share them with the prosecutors. The bank argued that no accused could be forced to testify against itself, an argument which the Swiss federal court refused to follow in this case. The court stated that the investigation of this grave case of international corruption and money-laundering justified the release of the relevant bank records to the prosecutors. The judges also said that bank records helf for regulatory purposes must be made available to prosecutors in criminal proceedings.” [BMF Press Release]

The decision looks set to throw further crucial light on the practices of Malaysia’s corrupted ruling politicians and the facilitating role of global banks and off-shore entities.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/1558519010902f1b

24 June 2016

The Bruno Manser Fund welcomes this important decision by the Swiss Federal Court and expects that UBS will be charged for money-laundering in the Musa Aman case within the next weeks.

http://www.bmf.ch/en/news/sealed-bank-documents-on-business-ties-with-sabah-chief-minister-musa-aman-must-be-released-to-public-prosecutors?utm_content=bufferc9a6c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

IMPORTANT COURT DECISION:Swiss authorities order UBS to release Malaysian corruption records

LAUSANNE (SWITZERLAND) Records by the Swiss bank UBS on its business ties with Malaysian top politician Musa Aman must be released to the Swiss Attorney General’s Office and can be used in criminal proceedings against the bank. This was declared on Thursday by the Swiss Federal Court in Lausanne.

In November 2014, Swiss prosecutors confiscated confidential bank records on UBS’ relationship with Musa Aman, a Malaysian politician involved in a US$ 90 million corruption scandal. Musa has been accused of collecting bribes for the granting of concessions for logging of tropical rainforests in Malaysian Borneo. The payments, some of which were earmarked as “deposits for logging concessions” were collected through UBS bank accounts in Singapore and Hong Kong. Following a complaint under criminal law by the Bruno Manser Fonds, the Swiss Attorney General’s office opened criminal proceedings against the bank in 2012.

Despite its public announcement that it was fully cooperating with the investigation, UBS had key documents on its relationship with Musa Aman sealed and refused to share them with the prosecutors. The bank argued that no accused could be forced to testify against itself, an argument which the Swiss federal court refused to follow in this case. The court stated that the investigation of this grave case of international corruption and money-laundering justified the release of the relevant bank records to the prosecutors. The judges also said that bank records field for regulatory purposes must be made available to prosecutors in criminal proceedings.

The Bruno Manser Fund welcomes this important decision by the Swiss Federal Court and expects that UBS will be charged for money-laundering in the Musa Aman case within the next weeks.

http://www.bmf.ch/en/news/sealed-bank-documents-on-business-ties-with-sabah-chief-minister-musa-aman-must-be-released-to-public-prosecutors?utm_content=bufferc9a6c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Swiss top court orders UBS Bank to release documents on Musa Aman

The Swiss Federal Court yesterday ordered that the records held by UBS Bank on its business ties with Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman be released to the country’s Attorney-General’s Office (AGO).

It further ruled that the documents can be used in criminal proceedings against the bank.

International non-governmental organisation, Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), in a statement today welcomed the Swiss Federal Court’s decision, saying that it expects UBS to be charged with money-laundering in relation to Musa’s case.

It was reported in November 2014 that Swiss prosecutors had confiscated confidential bank records on UBS’ relationship with Musa, who is alleged to be involved in a US$90 million corruption scandal for allegedly collecting bribes for granting logging concessions of tropical rainforest in Sabah.

The alleged deposits for logging concessions were collected through UBS Bank accounts in Singapore and Hong Kong.

This follows a complaint under criminal law filed by the BMF, resulting in the Swiss AGO opening criminal proceedings against the bank in 2012.

Sarawak Report, which had earlier exposed Sabah’s timber corruption in a series of articles in 2012, also confirmed the decision.

Suspicious money

It alleges that through a network of companies, businessman Michael Chia, son of a business associate of Musa, was involved in the matter that led to Chia being arrested in Hong Kong with a bag full of millions of dollars in cash, just before the Sabah state election.

The arrest prompted the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to launch investigations into the matter.

Sarawak Report had in numerous exposé showed how this contributed to the otherwise unexplained wealth of Musa and his brother, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman.

With the Swiss Federal Court’s decision, Sarawak Report says UBS is likely to be questioned on why its Singapore branch was willing to accept such suspicious money.

The decision looks set to throw further crucial light on the practices of Malaysia’s corrupted ruling politicians and the facilitating role of global banks and off-shore entities.

27 February 2014

Malay Mail Online

After tycoon’s conviction, PKR demands new probe on Musa Aman

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — Anti-corruption investigators must review their dismissal of money laundering claims against Datuk Seri Musa Aman following the fraud conviction of the tycoon who channelled RM40 million to the Sabah chief minister, PKR said today.

Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli said the decision by a Sandakan Sessions Court to sentence Sabah timber magnate Michael Chia to a year’s jail and one lashing of the rotan over a RM2.5 million fraud charge reinforced the suspicion over his role in the transfer of the sum to Musa in 2008.

“Michael Chia has no influence or role in the government, and he has no authority to grant logging permits. The fact he can collect funds from timber firms shows that the companies and timber bosses know he is the intermediary for those with the power to influence such concessions,” the PKR strategy director said in a statement.

Pointing to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) success in securing Chia’s conviction yesterday, he encouraged the graft-busters to now divert their resources to renew scrutiny on the RM40 million the tycoon had funnelled to Musa, which was deemed to be “political contributions” to Umno in 2012.

Rafizi added that Chia’s conviction yesterday was also a taint on the reputation of Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, whose son was linked to the timber tycoon through the use of a luxury vehicle that Rafizi previously exposed.

Chia was yesterday sentenced to jail following his conviction on the charge of tricking Datuk Agus Hassan of RM2.5 million in a logging-related matter in 2004 by claiming that it was meant for Umno’s political funds.

He previously made the headlines in April 2012, when whistle-blower website Sarawak Report claimed he was caught trying to smuggle RM40 million worth of Singaporean currency from the Hong Kong International Airport to Malaysia in 2008.

Chia had purportedly told the authorities that the money was meant for Musa, resulting in a probe on international fund transfers that was then believed to be tied to possible money-laundering activities connected to illegal timber-felling in Sabah.

But in October 2012, minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz told Parliament that the MACC had cleared Musa of corruption after it found that the RM40 million was not for his personal use, but was a “political donation” to Sabah Umno.

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/after-tycoons-conviction-pkr-demands-new-probe-on-musa-aman#sthash.XSqJ98WP.dpuf

Sarawak Report

Sabah’s Smoking Gun! Bank Statements Show That Musa Aman’s Sons Accessed Dirty Money – National Exclusive!

Documents leaked from a Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) enquiry have provided devastating evidence of the Sabah Chief Minister, Musa Aman’s, personal involvement in a massive timber kickback scandal, which insiders say has been subject to a high level political cover-up.

Aman has always denied that he was linked to allegations surrounding the Sabah timber trader Michael Chia, who was arrested in Hong Kong and charged with money laundering, as he attempted to smuggle SG$16million in bank notes back to Malaysia in 2008.

However, Sarawak Report has now obtained access to secret documents from the investigations by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and Malaysia’s MACC, which directly implicate the Chief Minister.

These include copies of bank statements, which record payments to Musa Aman’s own sons from suspect accounts linked to Chia’s business activities.

Michael Chia, who referred to himself as Aman’s adopted son, played the role as facilitator for kickbacks to the Chief Minister, according to trade insiders.

They say that soon after Aman took office, Chia started approaching key timber industry players to make plain that major concessions would be available – but only if kickbacks were paid, through him as the connector to Musa Aman.

“Tampokong was instructed to follow Chia’s instructions”, say sources. Meaning that Yayasan Sabah’s Forest Manager, Mohd Daud Tampokong, had been instructed by the Chairman of the Board Trustees, Musa Aman, to do Chia’s bidding when it came to authorising logging licences.

Yayasan Sabah controls around a million hectares of remaining forest land, which it is suppose to protect and manage on behalf of the state and its people.  Unwisely, the country’s top politician is also the head of Yayasan’s Board of Trustees, giving the Chief Minister unlimited personal control over the country’s major natural resource.

http://www.sarawakreport.org/2012/04/sabahs-smoking-gun-bank-statements-show-that-musa-amans-sons-accessed-dirty-money-national-exclusive/

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