BMF director Lukas Straumann’s new book on corruption in the Malaysian state of Sarawak was warmly received and widely covered by the press on the occasion of a surprise meeting in Kuching on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Governor Abdul Taib Mahmud has instructed his London lawyer, Mishcon de Reya, to stop the international launch of Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia. In a letter sent to the Swiss publisher, Bergli Books, Mishcon de Reya wrote on behalf of their client, Abdul Taib Mahmud: “If the Book is published in English by a reputable publisher, it will cause collosal and irreversible harm to our client’s reputation.”
According to Mishcon de Reya, the Book “accuses our client of being a ‘despot’; having committed crimes; earning billions of dollars illegally from the timber trade; hiding that fortune abroad through sham companies; committing ‘one of the greatest environmental crimes in history’; being a ‘corrupt autocrat’; breaching international laws and regulations; using his profit from logging to feed corruption; and finally, having ‘liquidated a forest in order to keep himself at the helm of a state”.
Taib’s lawyers are asking Bergli Books “that you will not publish the Book.” In a similar letter to Amazon UK, Mishcon de Reya are demanding that Amazon “will not distribute the book”.
Author Lukas Straumann is refuting Mishcon de Reya’s demands and stated that he will not retract a single word as the book has been meticolously researched and is strictly fact-based. Bergli Books have assured the Bruno Manser Fund that the book will be on the market as agreed upon. Amazon have not reacted to the letter and are still offering the book for sale.
Despite the threats by Taib’s lawyers, the international book launch in Yokohama, Japan, planned for coming Monday, 3 November on the occasion of the 50th session of the International Tropical Timber Organisation, will go ahead as scheduled .
Your BMF team
Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia is available from www.money-logging.org and many other sources, including: Australia – Asia Book Room; Canada – Octopus Books, Ottawa; UK – NHBS, Amazon, Star Books; USA – Amazon; Malaysia – wherever books are sold; Singapore – wherever books are sold. E-book available wherever books are sold.