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“The Borneo Case” comes to Canada as court prepares to hear financial disclosure suit

Next week a group of indigenous activists from Malaysia, accompanied by the NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), will travel to Canada to call attention to the decades of clear-cut logging that has razed the rainforests of Borneo and allegedly enriched a Malaysian family accused of money laundering through a Canadian company.

The alleged money laundering operation is Sakto, an Ottawa real estate firm, which the BMF contends was set up by the Taib family to hide the proceeds of corruption tied to logging concessions in Borneo. Last year the BMF filed a lawsuit in an Ontario court against RBC, TD, Manulife and Deloitte seeking information about Sakto’s beneficial ownership and financial flows from Malaysia into the Canadian real estate group. BMF seeks disclosure of those records for a possible private prosecution of Sakto under the Criminal Code.

Ahead of the court proceedings, the delegation from Malaysia will present the following screenings of the documentary The Borneo Case, which investigates allegations that profits from the deforestation in Borneo have been laundered through property portfolios around the world.

  • Montreal: Wednesday January 31, 6:30 pm, Concordia University (see details)
  • Ottawa: Thursday February 1, 6:30 pm, Mayfair Theatre (see details)
  • Toronto: Saturday February 3, 7 pm, University of Toronto (see details)

We’ve joined Canadians for Tax Fairness, Inter Pares and MiningWatch Canada in sponsoring the Ottawa screening, as this case highlights the need for better regulatory controls to prevent money laundering in Canada. For instance, to counter the use of anonymous companies to hide the proceeds of corruption, the government should require that the real owners of companies registered, listed or operating in Canada be publicly disclosed.

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