The French-Malaysian Submarine Scandal: the Documents
|Our Correspondent||Jun 25, 2012|
They were presented to a French anti-corruption court in May and June of 2011. Taken together, they present –in French – the clearest picture to date of the two-decade campaign by the French state-owned defense manufacturer DCN and its subsidiaries to sell Scorpene submarines to the Malaysian Ministry of Defense.
Asia Sentinel’s story summarizing what is in the documents is in a collection in Asia Sentinel's Scribd account. They tell a story of corruption on both sides of the world that included – according to one presentation to the court – “blackmail, bribery, influence peddling, misuse of corporate assets and concealment.” The documents show that many of these activities were carried out with the full knowledge if not connivance of top officials in both the French and Malaysian governments.
There is considerable doubt in Malaysia that these documents actually exist, and that the story of corruption was fabricated by the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition. Here is proof that they exist indeed. Readers who speak French may examine them at their leisure.
The documents were sent anonymously to Asia Sentinel because of our persistence in cataloguing the story of the submarines since October 2006, when Altantuya Shaariibuu, a 28-year-old Mongolian party girl and translator of sorts, was murdered in a patch of jungle near the suburban city of Shah Alam and her body was blown to bits with C4 explosives.
It subsequently became apparent that Altantuya had accompanied Abdul Razak Baginda, the head of Malaysian Strategic Services and a close associate of then-Defense Minister Najib Tun Razak, to Paris and Brest during final negotiations for the contract to train Malaysian sailors and to maintain the submarines once they arrived in Malaysia. Althought the documents indicate French authorities found no record that Altantuya had ever entered France, Asia Sentinel ran a series of pictures of her in Pars in front of the Louis Vuitton Paris shop, the Arc de Triomphe, the Cathedral of Notre Dame and other locations. The story and pictures, whjich ran on Dec. 5, 2007, can be found here.
Two of Najib’s bodyguards – one of whom said in a formal statement that they were to be paid RM100,000 to kill the woman – were convicted of murder, but the courts carefully stayed away from identifying who had ordered her death.
The case eventually spread to France, where lawyers led by William Bourdon were engaged by the Malaysian NGO Suaram to attempt to get to the bottom of the case. Their efforts led French anti- corruption police to raid the offices of DCN and its subsidiaries. Thousands of documents were seized, along with computers and vast stores of documents and files. For the better part of two months, prosecutors detailed the evidence in a French courtroom. They will stay on the Asia Sentinel website as a public service for readers to compile their own evidence of a scandal that infected two governments.