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Samling Owners Linked to ‘Epicenter’ of Sub-prime Crash

US authorities asked to investigate the real estate dealings of the Yaw family in the United States

MOUNTAIN HOUSE, CA, September 3, 2010, --/WORLD-WIRE/--. Yaw Teck Seng, the founder and controlling shareholder of Malaysian logging giant, Samling Global, and his son, Chee Siew Yaw, have been accused of being closely linked to Mountain House, a major new-town development in San Joaquin, California, currently labelled the ‘epicentre’ of the housing crash that led to the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States.

According to Sarawak Report, Mountain House was developed by Trimark Communities LLC, a subsidiary of the Yaw-family-controlled Sunchase Holdings Inc. The project resulted in huge losses for numerous buyers and investors, including the California Public Employees Retirement Scheme (CalPERS), which is believed to have lost US $ 926 million in the project.

Chee Siew Yaw, the former president of Sunchase and Trimark, had been involved in a number of massive land deals across the USA since the late 1980s, including a $2 billion land deal said to be “the largest real estate partnership ever formed with the US Government”. Yaw, who is currently living in Singapore, claims to have divested all his US interests before the sub-prime crash, a claim that is being questioned by Sarawak Report.

Since the 1980s, Samling and other Yaw-family-owned logging groups have been involved in large-scale illegal logging in a number of countries, including Cambodia, Guyana, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Last month, the Norwegian government exluded Samling from the Norwegian Government Pension Fund portfolio because of Samling’s responsibility for illegal logging and severe environmental damage in Malaysia and Guyana.

It appears likely that the huge assets invested by the Yaw family in the US real estate sector originate from illegal logging and have not been properly taxed in the countries of origin. The Bruno Manser Fund is asking the US authorities to investigate the real estate and financial dealings of the Yaw family in the United States since the late 1980s and the precise link of the Yaws to the Mountain House crash.  


For background information, please contact us:

Bruno Manser Fund,
Socinstrasse 37,
4051 Basel, Switzerland
Tel. +41 61 261 94 74