Swiss authorities confirm money-laundering investigation against UBS, Malaysian top politician
Swiss prosecutors investigated the Sabah Chief Minister, reports Sonntagszeitung, a Swiss national weekly
(BERN/ZURICH, SWITZERLAND) The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland has confirmed on Friday that Switzerland has given legal assistance to Hong Kong in a money-laundering case against Musa Aman, Chief Minister of the Malaysian State of Sabah on Borneo. Musa Aman is the older brother of Anifah Aman, Malaysia’s Foreign Minister
In a statement to the Zurich-based weekly, Sonntagszeitung, spokespersons for the Attorney General and the Swiss Federal Office of Justice said that the files on the case have been transmitted to Hong Kong authorities on 31st March 2011. The officals added that Switzerland could not provide further details as the relevant enforcement agency in Hong Kong hat the lead in the investigation.
UBS headquarters in Zurich refused to comment on the matter and said that, in all markets it was operating in, the bank complied with the regulatory and legal framework.
Malaysian media reported last week that Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman is being investigated by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for having laundered over 90 million US dollars of timber corruption money through UBS bank accounts in Hong Kong and Switzerland. According to Sarawak Report, Malaysian prosecutors refused to cooperate with Hong Kong in the matter because Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patai is a relative and a close political ally of Musa Aman.
In return for the kickbacks, the Sabah Chief Minister granted concessions to log tropical hardwoods in the Borneo rainforest, one of the world’s most biodiverse habitats. In February 2007, the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei committed to protect the Borneo rainforest in the trilateral “Heart of Borneo” declaration
The Bruno Manser Fund asks the Hong Kong authorities to provide details on the results of its investigations as this is a question of highest public interest at the international level. The Bruno Manser strongly criticizes UBS for allowing timber kickbacks to be laundered through its accounts and is currently examining if the bank’s conduct includes legal offences under Swiss law.
(22 April 2012)
Check the following link for the official Swiss statement on the Musa Aman investigation: