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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Monaco royalty asked to reject Rosmah's donation

A non-governmental organisation has called on Monaco ruler Prince Albert II to pay back the 100,000 euro donation by the Malaysian prime minister's wife, Rosmah Mansor.

Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), a Swiss environment advocacy group, “suspects” that the donation may have been funded by Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, whom they claimed have been the main culprit in the destructive logging of the rainforests in the state.

NONE“The origin of the 100,000 euro (RM437,500) is very unclear, and the fund should thus not have been accepted by Prince Albert's foundation.

“We suggest that Albert pays back the money to the Penan, Malaysia's most marginalised people, in order to support their struggle to defend their rainforests against logging,” said BMF in a press statement.

Rosmah had presented the donation to Albert at the Islamic Fashion Festival in Monte Carlo in August last year for the Prince Albert Foundation.

According to Albert on the foundation's website, the foundation is to “protect the environment and to encourage sustainable development”.

It was previously reported in The Borneo Post article, and reproduced in Taib's official website, that the donation was raised by the KL-Jakarta Islamic Fashion Festival (IFF) “through sponsors in support of the promotion of Sarawak tourism”.

'Taib a good friend of Albert'

BMF - named after the Swiss activist who had defended the interests of the indigenous communities in Sarawak and who has been missing since 2000 - also raised questions about the relationship between Taib and Albert.

With Taib long known to have good ties with the Monagesque prince, BMF said that their relations had raised a lot of questions.

“Why is Albert, who is fond of his green image, associating himself with one of the world's worst environmental criminals?” they asked.

They also claimed that Albert visited Sarawak with one of Monaco's top private bankers and London property tycoon Achilleas Kallakis in 2008.

Kallakis, a former member of the Prince Albert II Foundation, was charged with fraud involving £61 million in one of the most serious property frauds in UK history last year.

“The Bruno Manser Fund is afraid that Monaco's banks might be administering significant Taib corruption assets,” it said.

Monaco, the world's second smallest sovereign country after Vatican City, is also a tax haven, imposing no income tax on individuals.

Because of its relatively lax personal financial policies, it has also become a hotbed for money laundering.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has launched an investigation on the allegations involving Taib but has yet to reveal its findings. - Malaysiakini

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