Talkback: Zeti Aziz’s offshore bank accounts. Why so quick to defend?

Talkback – Sarawak Report’s startling defense of Zeti Aziz offshore bank accounts and abuse of power brings into serious question their credibility.

In a recent talk back Sarawak Report has taken to defend Zeti Aziz by selectively quoting our blog on the existence of bank accounts linked to Zeti Aziz family.

Let it be made clear, we never questioned the legality of having offshore bank accounts.

Our story even ends with the following quote:

“anonymity granted by the offshore economy facilitates money laundering, tax evasion, fraud and other crimes. Even when it’s legal, transparency advocates argue that the use of an alternative, parallel economy undermines democracy because it benefits a few at the expense of the majority.”

The ICIJ story was a lead up to the stinging expose, which revealed that Zeti Aziz had abused her position to rule in favor of Nazir Razak allowing him to not only obtain Southern Bank but to obtain it cheap.

The offshore bank accounts were used as vehicles to receive kick backs for voting in favor of Nazir Razak’s hostile take over of Southern Bank.

We stand by the facts of our story. 

1. Malaysian regulations require the Central Bank’s approval for all transactions of shares involving banks. This falls under the discretion of the acting Governor Zeti Aziz.

2. Bank Negara rejected Southern Bank’s 2.07 billion ringgit bid to buy a controlling stake in insurer Asia General Holdings. The bid was a key element in Southern bank’s defense strategy against a hostile take over by CIMB.

3.  Bank Negara approved the take over bid for Southern Bank by CIMB.

What is clearly seen is the power of politics on commercial activities. Bank Negara rules require the Central Bank’s approval before an intended bank can even negotiate with a target party.

This regulation gave BNM the power to reject all potential rival bidders for Southern bank.

Why so quick to defend?

If Zeti Aziz’s family holds the offshore bank accounts for legitimate reasons then why have extensive steps been taken to hide the identity of the real owners of the bank account?

Why hide the identity of the offshore bank account owners in several layers of proxy companies, if all transactions are above board?

UBS Singapore was used to set up companies registered under Porticulis TrustNet (BVI) Limited. An offshore entity known as SharecorpLtd acted as nominee shareholder which was followed by additional layers of proxy companies where by Sharecorp limited was listed as a shareholder of a company called Excorp Limited which was listed as nominee shareholder of Mermeden Ltd which listed shareholding rights in the companies Iron Rhapsody Limited and Glittering Snow international ltd.

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