Judge says he cannot give a private prosecutor more powers than the police.
(TORONTO, CANADA) The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has dismissed an application by the Swiss NGO, the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), for the disclosure of financial data on the Malaysian Taib family’s businesses in Canada.
BMF had sought a court order requesting four Canadian financial institutions (Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto Dominion Bank, Manulife Financial, Deloitte & Touche) to disclose their records on Sakto, a CAD 200 million real estate group controlled by the family of Sarawak Governor Taib Mahmud. BMF is currently preparing a private prosecution of Sakto over allegations of money-laundering.
“You are asking for greater powers than the police have“, Justice Dunphy said in the court hearing on Monday. “This is taking us into uncharted territory“. The judge dismissed the case strictly on legal arguments and refrained from commenting on the facts.
Last year, a BMF investigation found that the Taib family had channelled an estimated CAD 70 million into the Sakto Group. The real estate holding is being directed by Jamilah Taib Murray, a daughter of Sarawak Governor Taib Mahmud, and her Canadian husband, Sean Murray.
“We regret this decision and will have to look for new ways to complement our evidence on the Taib family’s unlawful business activities“, BMF executive director Lukas Straumann said in reaction to the judgement.
For more info: Bruno Manser Fund, Socinstrasse 37, 4051 Basel, Switzerland www.bmf.ch +41 61 261 94 74