Tuesday, October 26

Canadian court dismisses BMF bid to obtain sensitive financial data



KUCHING: A Canadian court dismissed an application by Swiss NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) for the disclosure of financial data in a money-laundering case involving an Ottawa real estate company.

According to a report by Free Malaysia Today, Ontario Superior Court Justice Sean Dunphy reportedly said BMF was “asking for greater powers than the police have”.

“This is taking us into uncharted territory,” he added.

BMF and Malaysian conservation activists in Toronto claimed that Sakto Corporation, which is currently valued at US$250 million, may have accumulated its wealth partly by laundering money from corruption in the Sarawak logging industry.

The allegations, however, are unproven in court, with both Sakto and its founder Jamilah Taib Murray denying the claims.

BMF executive director Lukas Straumann expressed his disappointment with the court judgment.

Last Sunday, Canada’s largest online news site thestar.com reported that the Swiss NGO will ask for sensitive financial records from three major banks and an accounting firm to release detailed financial records related to Sakto.

It said BMF hoped to use the documents, if released, to pursue private prosecution — a scarcely used type of criminal proceeding that can be started by a private citizen — against Sakto for corruption.

“We have nothing to lose except money,”  Straumann was quoted as saying.