The Bruno Manser Foundation filed a complaint against banking giant UBS for laundering money on behalf of Musa Aman, the cheif minister of the Malaysian state of Sabah, who allegedly received illegal payments for allowing logging in Borneo. Read below for more information on Aman and his ultimate control over the Sabah Department of Forestry.
For more information on corrupt timber operations in Borneo, please visit: http://borneoproject.org/our-work/ongoing-campaigns/stop-timber-corruption-in-sarawak
September 04, 2012
Logging truck in Sabah. Photo by Rhett Butler.
Swiss authorities have launched a criminal investigation into whether banking giant UBS laundered money on behalf of a Malaysian politician who allegedly received illegal payments for allowing logging in Borneo, reports the Associated Press.
The decision by the Federal Prosecutors’ Office came after The Bruno Manser Foundation, an activist group, filed a complaint against UBS, which was named by Malaysia’s anti-corruption agency — the MACC — in a money laundering scheme involving Musa Aman, the chief minister of the Malaysian state of Sabah. Aman and his associates allegedly transferred $90 million through several UBS bank accounts in Hong Kong. Aman is also said to have a personal UBS account in Zurich.
UBS said it would “cooperate fully” with with authorities.
Logging road in Sabah. Photo by Rhett Butler.
“UBS applies the highest standards worldwide in the fight against money laundering and corruption. UBS is under an obligation to report the discovery of criminal proceeds and suspicious activities to the relevant anti-money laundering authorities,” the bank said in a statement.
“In this matter, UBS has complied with these obligations already several years ago in several countries, prior to the commencement of various investigations. Ever since, UBS has been fully cooperating in a number of investigations relating to this matter. We understand that UBS itself has not been the subject of such investigations.”
Sabah’s rainforests have been heavily logged over the past 40 years. Only a fraction of the state’s primary rainforests remain intact.
While the Sabah Department of Forestry is responsible for managing the state’s forest resources, the chief minister has the ultimate control over the agency.