08
Feb
16

Troubles resurface for Malaysia’s Najib in Europe

A case involving allegations of high-level bribery, blackmail, betrayal and the murder of a glamorous Mongolian socialite in Malaysia has resurfaced in France, only days after Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak was cleared of corruption charges at home.

French prosecutors have charged a French businessman involved in Malaysia’s $US2 billion ($2.8 billion) purchase of two French-Spanish built submarines with paying illegal kickbacks to a Malaysian official linked to Mr Najib, according to the French newsagency AFP.

Mr Najib, who was defence minister at the time of the purchase, has denied any wrongdoing but the case has been the subject of hot rumours and speculation in Malaysia’s social media during his seven-year rule.

The French report named Ferrari-driving Malaysian businessman Abdul Razak Baginda, one of Mr Najib’s best friends and policy advisers, as the person who allegedly received the kickbacks.

While the submarine deal was being negotiated, Mr Baginda was the lover of 28-year-old Mongolian socialite Altantuya Shaariibuu who was murdered by two of Mr Najib’s bodyguards in a patch of jungle in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur in 2006.

Ms Shaariibuu was dragged from a car, knocked unconscious and shot twice in the head, according to court testimony.

She had begged for the life of her unborn baby and then her body was wrapped in C4 explosives and blown up, ensuring the fetus was destroyed, along with the identity of the father.

Ms Shaariibuu, who was abducted outside Mr Baginda’s house, had reportedly demanded $US500,000 to remain silent about her knowledge of the submarine deal.

French authorities who opened an investigation into the submarine purchases almost four years ago have issued an indictment against Bernard Baiocco, 72, the former president of Thales International Asia, according to an AFP report in the French language, that was translated by the Malaysiakini news website.

In 2008 a Malaysian judge sensationally dropped a charge of abetting murder against Mr Baginda, even before any evidence was heard at his trial.

Lawyers expect Mr Baginda will be called to testify at a French hearing.

“We feel very encouraged and happy to hear the case has moved forward and that French investigators have arrived on a very important finding and a key French official has been formally indicted,” Cynthia Gabriel from the Malaysian human rights organisation Suaram was quoted as telling Malaysiakini.

…more
Troubles resurface for Malaysia’s Najib in Europe
January 30, 2016 – Sydney Morning Herald

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