11 June 2014
Madness in grossly high maintenance claims, says Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib
KUALA LUMPUR — Lawyers Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar and Saadiah Din acting in a child maintenance matter for Sarawak business entrepreneur Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib today revealed that a RM121.4 million ‘Nafkah Anak’ (child maintenance) suit had been instituted by former wife Shahnaz Abdul Majid for their son Raden Murya Abdul Taib Mahmud.
The case was to have been heard yesterday at the Kuala Lumpur Shariah High Court but came to a grinding halt when Shahnaz had demanded that the judge Azzeman bin Haji Omar recuse himself from hearing the matter.
She cited that two interim applications pursuant to the main suit for child maintenance that she had filed were dismissed and may be prejudiced as the judge had given his views and opinion, and that the hearing date for the defendant’s interlocutory application to set aside the Interim order for child maintenance had yet to be determined.
The court registrar cautioned lawyers acting for Shanaz that their letter dated 6 June 2014 on the judicial disqualification was not acceptable and that they ought to file a formal application to the court. The plaintiff’s lead counsel Mohd Rafie Mohd Shafie was told to do so by 21 July 2014.
News is abuzz that Shanaz has filed a number of divorce claims amounting to RM300 million for matrimonial assets division, RM100 million for conciliatory gift (mutaah), RM121.4 million for child maintenance, and including a claim for half of her former husband’s assets.
In a statement issued today, Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir said, “The hefty child maintenance claim is unprecedented. This is madness. There is no sense and sensibility to all her claims in our divorce.”
Shanaz’s claims have been attributed to her complete belief that Datuk Seri Mahmud had some US$700 million in 111 off shore accounts. She had in October 2012 testified that her former husband had accounts in Canada, the US, the Caribbean, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Hong Kong and Switzerland.
In her testimony, Shanaz outlined that Datuk Seri Mahmud held accounts in Edmond de Rothschild in Luxembourg with deposits of US$25 million. She added that he had accounts in the same bank in Switzerland with deposits of US$31 million, HSBC accounts in Jersey with deposits of US$34 million, while an HSBC account in Hong Kong with deposits of US$9.6 million.
However last week in a “mutaah” (conciliatory gift) hearing at the Kuala Lumpur Shariah High Court, Datuk Seri Mahmud tore down those outrageous allegations of immense offshore wealth when he testified that Shanaz had counted on fictitious banking information from a pair of fraudsters from Canada – Cullen Johnson, a former Toronto police officer who ran a private investigative business and his wife Elaine White a former forensic accountant.
Johnson and White had been duping clients in an international scheme that involved bogus promises of offshore millions. They concocted dazzling realistic-looking international banking information that would lead one party to believe the other had millions of dollars in assets offshore.
Since 2009 the pair were wanted by the Canadian authorities for charges of fraud. In 2010, they fled to the Turks and Caicos Islands before their trial. However, on 10 April 2013, Johnson and White were extradited to the US from a Turks and Caicos prison on charges of money laundering, tax evasion and several charges of fraud valued at over US$1m.
Datuk Seri Mahmud had earlier challenged Shanaz and her legal team to produce solid evidence of bank accounts proclaiming his Colossal wealth to justify the enormous demands. He asked that these wild claims of humongous wealth be supported by real testimonies from bank managers from these international financial institutions. Thus far, Shanaz has not produced them in court.
He further asked that his ex wife and her legal team explain if they had known all along that they had engaged fraudsters in concocting his exaggerated wealth for evidence to be tabled in court.