Monday, April 28, 2014

HSBC bars Taib family

 | April 27, 2014
Further controversy shrouds HSBC with latest developments on the bank's decision.

Taib-Logging-300x202.jpgKUCHING: Global banking conglomerate HSBC is  no longer doing business with former Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, his family,  cronies and possibly Sarawak.
In a  bid seen as being among several measure at  ‘damage control’, the bank has reportedly notified all members of Taib  family that they are no longer allowed to hold accounts with the bank.
The move comes on the back of a contentious decision to shutdown its commercial banking division in Sarawak which lead to a public outcry and protests by employees and the Sarawak Bank Employees Union.
HSBC’s decision here is closely linked to its desire to withdraw from ‘tainted’ active business.
The bank had reportedly said that its presence here is no longer commercially viable.
The argument has not gone down well with employees and the public as Sarawak’s economy is seeing considerable growth.
This is especially so following the establishment of the Sarawak Corridor for Renewable Energy (Score), which has boasted opportunities for foreign investments into the state.
The 150 HSBC Sarawak are demanding that Bank Negara intervene.
HSBC’s latest decision to bar Taib’s clan, was disclosed by online investigate portal Sarawak Report when it revealed that Taib’s daughter Raziah Mahmud and husband Robert Geneid had sold one of their family property in Australia for over A$6.5 million (RM14 mil).
The portal also raised questions over whether the sale was indicative of ‘other’ problems in the state backyard.
HSBC bankrolled Taib’s cronies 
Taib stepped down as Sarawak Chief Minister on Feb 28 and is no  longer directing the administration of the state however  his successor Adenan Satem has been described by critics as being “nothing more than a puppet”.
The 31-year old Taib regime had come under heavy attack by international activists for a range of reportedly dictatorial and unlawful activities.
In 2012, a UK-based NGO Global Witness blew the lid off the Taib clan and their cronies’ dealings.
The revelations followed Swiss-based NGO Bruno Manser Fund’s disclosure that the Taib clan had  49 companies in eight countries worth billions of US dollars.
In contrast the oil,  gas and land rich state had been declared the third poorest in Malaysia.
BMF claimed the ‘source’ of Taib and his clan’s wealth came indirectly from logging the state.
HSBC had reportedly bankrolled errant logging companies in Sarawak.
criminal investigation by UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in 2012 showed that HSBC had violated its sustainability policies and earned around US$130 million (RM390mil) in the process.
The bank had  reportedly provided financial services to companies widely suspected of systematic bribery and corruption.
Sarawak exports more tropical timber than South America and Africa combined.
Politically connected clients
In its report “In the Future There Will B No Forest Left”  Global Witness revealed that HSBC had provided loans and financial services to conglomerates and companies linked to Taib.
HSBC’s clients were described as “politically exposed persons” (PEPs)
These clients, the report had further noted had also infiltrated into the global timber industry with the assistance of HSBC’s network.
The HSBC scandal in succession to BMF’s disclosure brought Taib’s crony companies, his unexplainable wealth and the depth of corruption in the state vis-a-vis Malaysia into global focus.
It also showed how Taib’s crony timber companies, which gained huge financial strength through their exploitation of Sarawak, had gone on to create global problems.

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