Malaysians' 'corruption covered up': Correction

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The Independent Online
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

IN AN article on 5 February entitled 'Malaysians' 'corruption covered up' ' the Independent reported on the collapse in 1983 of a Malaysian bank in Hong Kong and the ensuing corruption scandal, which coincided with the negotiation of the Pergau dam aid package with the British Government.

The bank, Bank Bumiputra, made unauthorised loans of pounds 600m to Carrian, a Hong Kong property company, which later went into liquidation.

The article stated that Tengku Razaleigh was owner of 25 million shares in Carrian as well as being a director of Bank Bumiputra and the treasurer of the ruling UMNO party. The loans were in fact made by Bumiputra Malaysia Finance Limited (BMF), a subsidiary of Bank Bumiputra. Tengku Razaleigh ceased to be a director of Bank Bumiputra and of BMF in 1976 when he was first appointed as finance minister. The first of the BMF loans to Carrian was made in 1979.

The article quoted a letter from George Tan, chairman of Carrian, in which he wrote to Tengku Razaleigh saying he was making 25 million shares available to him. The letter was denounced as a forgery by Tengku Razaleigh when it first came to light in 1990, during legal proceedings involving Lorraine Osman, Britain's longest serving remand prisoner. Its authenticity has never been established.

Tengku Razaleigh has always stated that he does not know George Tan and that he has never received any Carrian shares.

The article also stated that Hong Kong police were investigating the murder of a bank auditor who had made inquiries into the ownership of the block of shares.

A letter from the auditor to Tengku Razaleigh was made public at the same time as the Tan letter. Similarly, it has not been proved to be genuine.

Tengku Razaleigh denies that he received any inquiry from the dead man and maintains that this letter is also a forgery.

In 1984 a man was convicted of the murder and is currently serving a life sentence in Hong Kong.