Wednesday, December 1, 2010

FBI renting top-secret facility from controversial Malaysian timber tycoon

FBI renting top-secret facility from controversial Malaysian timber tycoon

Owned by the Taibs: the FBI's Abraham Lincoln building in Seattle. (Screenshot FBI Seattle Division website)

SEATTLE, USA. The US government's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is renting a top-secret office facility in downtown Seattle from the family of Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of the East Malaysian state of Sarawak. This has been revealed by Sarawak Report, a website close to the Malaysian opposition. Taib is considered to be one of the corruptest politicians of South East Asia and one of the main culprits in the destructive logging of Malaysian Borneo's rainforests over the past three decades.

According to Sarawak Report, the 11-storey Abraham Lincoln Building in Seattle, which houses the FBI's North West Regional Headquarters, is held by the Taib family through Wallysons Inc., a Washington corporation. Washington state records show that Wallysons' chairman is Taib's son Rahman (also known as Sulaiman), who is a member of the Malaysian parliament, while Taib's son-in-law Sean Murray, a Canadian national, is the president. The facility is administered from a Taib family-owned office complex in Ottawa, Canada.

Ironically, one of the FBI's criminal priorities is to "combat public corruption at all levels", and one of the units based in the Abraham Lincoln Building is in charge of fighting money laundering. "Corruption in government threatens our country's democracy and national security", the FBI's Seattle Division website states.

The Taib family's reinvestment of the proceeds of corruption in overseas real estate could well be looked upon as a form of money laundering. Obviously, the FBI's due diligence upon renting the building was seriously flawed.

The disclosure of the Taibs' ownership of the FBI building is the latest in a series of corruption allegations against the Sarawak Chief Minister that have been widely reported by the Malaysian online media over the past few weeks. Last week, several individuals lodged complaints against Taib with the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC).

Taib has failed to publicly comment on the reports, which is being regarded as an indirect acknowledgement that the allegations are true. The Chief Minister's only response has been a directive to the local print media, which are under tight government control, prohibiting them from reporting on his family's overseas fortunes.

(9 July 2010)