KUALA LUMPUR- Sarawak tycoon Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib denied that he has assets worth billions as claimed by his former wife Shahnaz A. Majid, a Syariah High Court here heard.
Mahmud, 51, said the details on his alleged assets were created by a jailed Canadian ex-policeman, Cullen Johnson.
Mahmud said upon Johnson's resignation as a policeman, he became an investigator and based on a report by Canadian Broadcast Corporation, Johnson and his wife Elaine White offered asset tracing services to plaintiffs in divorce cases in the United States and Canada.
When his counsel Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar asked Mahmud what was the connection between Shahnaz and Johnson, Mahmud replied: "I sent an investigator to the United States and later discovered the plaintiff (Shahnaz) had obtained services from Johnson in 2012."
Mahmud, who is Cahya Mata Sarawak Berhad director, said that since 2009, it was known that Johnson created false documents by changing the names, bank account numbers and the total amount of money.
"Johnson and Elaine escaped from Canada in 2010 but were later nabbed in the Turks and Caicos Island in the Caribbean.
"Currently, they are jailed in the United States on a charge of falsifying bank documents," he said on the first day of giving his testimony in the trial of RM100mil mutaah (conciliatory gift) claim as divorce settlement filed by Shahnaz, 51.
Earlier, the son of Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud said he married Shahnaz on Jan 9, 1992, but they divorced on May 11, 2011.
Recalling his past marriage with Shahnaz, Mahmud said they had a happy marriage and their son Raden Murya Abdul Taib was born on Dec 11, 1993.
"The plaintiff's attitude towards me began to change by end of 1994 when she started to question my acts, either personally or my job.
"For example, she would inspect my body to see if there were any scratches as she thought that I was having an affair," he said.
He said he then moved to Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and stayed at his father's house here while Shahnaz continued to live in their matrimonial house in Kuching, Sarawak, until 1999.
"The same year too I obtained a RM1.5mil loan to purchase a house in Damansara for the plaintiff and our son and at that time the price was RM2mil but now the price is about RM7mil," he said.
Mahmud said the house was under Shahnaz's name and he paid for the loan which has since been settled.
He said he also bought three vehicles - a Mercedes Benz S class worth RM800,000, a BMW X5 (RM600,000) and a Cherokee jeep (RM500,000) - under Shahnaz or her company's names.
Shahnaz is claiming RM400mil, of which RM300mil is for matrimonial property as part of the divorce settlement.
She is also claiming 50 per cent of all assets owned by Mahmud, including luxury cars, houses in various locations, land in Sarawak and shares.
Syarie judge Muhamad Abdul Karim Wahab later adjourned the trial to June 24 when Mahmud was expected to continue to give his evidence.