Bloomberg is currently reporting that German finance giant, Deutsche Bank, is about to sell its stake in Malaysian broker K&N Kenanga Holdings Bhd (“Kenanga”). According to Bloomberg, Deutsche Bank is planning to sell its 13.8 per cent interest in Kenanga valued at about USD 18 million. The step follows the recent publication of the Bruno Manser Fund’s book “Raubzug auf den Regenwald – Auf den Spuren der malaysischen Holzmafia” that sharply criticizes Deutsche Bank’s ties with the Malaysian Taib family. The book, which has been written by BMF director Lukas Straumann, has found a strong interest with the media in German-speaking Europe and is about to be translated into English.
Deutsche Bank has repeatedly been criticized by the Bruno Manser Fund for its involvement in Kenanga because of the broker’s close connection to the family of Malaysian potentate, Taib Mahmud. Last year, a BMF delegation participated at Deutsche Bank’s annual general meeting in Frankfurt and requested the bank’s top management to stop its business relationship with the Taib family.
Kenanga’s largest shareholder is the Taib family company, CMS Capital, with a share of 25.1%. Taib Mahmud’s son-in-law, Syed Ahmad Alwee Alsree, is member of Kenanga’s board of directors. In 2011, a Kenanga subsidiary, Kenanga Deutsche Futures, was fined by the Malaysian authorities for breaching the country’s anti-money-laundering legislation.
The Bruno Manser Fund welcomes Deutsche Bank’s step and calls on the bank to donate the proceeds of the sale to Sarawak’s indigenous communities who have suffered from the Taib regime. The USD 18 million are urgently needed to create the Penan Peace Park, a self-administerd forest reserve in Sarawak’s Upper Baram region, the Bruno Manser Fund said on Friday.
Deutsche Bank’s ties with the Taib family go beyond Kenanga. The German bankers are also administering the Jersey-based Sogo Holdings Ltd, an offshore company that has allegedly been involved in laundering Taib family assets that were reinvested in Canadian real estate. Deutsche’s investment bankers have also assisted the controversial Taib regime to access the capital markets. In 2005, Deutsche issued a USD 600 million bond for the Sarawak government in Labuan, Malaysia’s offshore finance centre.
The Bruno Manser Fund will continue to watch Deutsche Bank’s business ties with the Taibs very carefully and will hold the bank accountable.
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