KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2, 2014:

A former Sarawak Chief Minister’s son, Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib told the Syariah High Court here today, that claims he and his family owned assets worth billions of ringgit were untrue.

He said the claims were aimed at changing the political scenario in the East Malaysian state.

He alleged it was a conspiracy planned by the Opposition parties, including Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and lawyers representing his former wife, Shahnaz A. Majid.

He said the parties concerned had used his former wife’s claim for alimony of RM100 million to shame him and his family.

A verbal exchange took place between Mahmud Abu Bekir and Shahnaz’s counsel, Dr Mohd Rafie Shafie, when the former claimed that the lawyer was also involved in the conspiracy as he (Dr Mohd Rafie) was related to Anwar.

Mohd Rafie is Anwar’s son, Mohd Reza’s father-in-law.

“These media and political attacks became popular when my former wife and her lawyer defamed, lied and exploited facts in this court.

“This case has not only caused sadness for me and the plaintiff (Shahnaz), but it was also used for politics.

“This court is used by politicians from the Opposition parties to tarnish my name and that of my family, as well as Sarawak, just because the plaintiff had made a statement that ‘Taib is the richest man in Malaysia’,” added Mahmud Abu Bekir.

He told the court that the statement had also prompted a Canadian Member of Parliament to order Swiss banks to investigate if indeed, he and his family had accounts there.

“I was alleged to have 111 accounts and own billions of ringgit, which is ridiculous.

“What they are trying to do is to say that my father is corrupt.”

Mahmud Abu Bekir said he did not have bank accounts in Canada, France, Hong Kong and several other countries as was claimed.

“The claims are all lies. I don’t have a single account.”

Mahmud Abu Bekir said he had engaged private investigators to probe into the allegation by his ex-wife and found that she (Shahnaz) had obtained the false documents from two Canadian nationals, Cullen Johnson and Elaine White, who were now being detained for alleged cheating and money-laundering.

He also denied in court today, to claims that he owned many properties abroad, as well as a private jet.

On the claim that he owned several companies, Mahmud Abu Bekir said he obtained bank loans to carry out his business and did not merely depend on his father.

He also told the court that he had never abused or hit Shahnaz, but it was the woman who was violent and hot-tempered.

Mahmud Abu Bekir also said he had never neglected his responsibility as a father to his son although he seldom saw him when he was younger.

He said he gave Shahnaz RM10,000 a month from 1998 until the early period of their divorce and also bought her a house, costing RM1.5 million, in Damansara.

The hearing before Syariah Judge Muhamad Abdul Karim Wahab continues on Sept 8.

Shahnaz has filed for alimony, totalling RM100 million which included land in Sarawak, house and luxury cars which she claimed were matrimonial property.

Mahmud Abu Bekir is a son of the current Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sarawak, Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, who had been chief minister for 33 years, from March 26, 1981.

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