Scandal hit Malaysian Premier Najib Razak does not seem to have any respite with more information coming out on the 1MDB saga, while news reports from France indicates an even more dramatic turn in the famous Scorpène inquiry.
According to Le Monde and AFP, submarines sold to Malaysia lead to an investigation – underway since 2010 – in which the judiciary suspects that commissions, concealed behind consultant contracts, have been used to corrupt the former Malaysian defense minister, now Prime Minister Najib Razak.
On Wednesday, the French authorities said a former head of the Naval Buildings Directorate 0r DCNI and a former head of Thales were charged for corruption in the Scorpène saga. The sale of the submarines to Malaysia were in 2002.
Sources close to the matter told Agence France-Presse Philippe Japiot, former president of the DCNI, the international branch of the Directorate of shipbuilding (DCN, now DCNS) and Jean-Paul Perrier, Of Thales and former president of its international subsidiary Thint, have been indicted for “active bribery” and “abuse of social assets.”
The investigation by the French authorities were triggered by Malaysian anti-corruption NGO Suaram which lodged a complaint in France.
Le Monde on Wednesday said the French judiciary suspects that commissions, hidden behind consultant contracts, were used to corrupt former Malaysian defense minister Najib Razak, Today Prime Minister, via one of his advisers, Abdul Razak Baginda.
The judges have already examined two other leaders of the defense industry: Dominique Castellan, who was also president of DCNI and Bernard Baïocco, former president of Thales internationalAsia (Thint Asia).
Sale of submarines
The French justice is said to be interested in the sale in 2002, after years of negotiations, of two Scorpene submarines and an Agosta submarine to the Royal Malaysian Navy for nearly one billion euros.
The transaction concluded by the DCNI, together with the electronics and defense group Thales, took place in a context of tightening regulation on the remuneration of intermediaries.
This type of contracts passed on the margins of the negotiation is at the heart of the prosecution’s file.
One of the contracts, baptised C5 “commercial engineering”, made provisions for the DCNI to pay 30 million euros of export trade costs (FCE) to Thint Asia, the structure designed to help the armaments group To promote its products, according to a source close to the matter said AFP.
According to the inquiry, another industrial company Terasasi, whose main shareholder, Abdul Razak Baginda is a very close to the then defense minister, Najib Razak received from Thint Asia around 30 million euros for consultations, and this was about another contract baptised C4,
No Wrong Doing
Investigators question whether these benefits could only have been a ‘dressed-up mask’ that allowed for the payment of bribes.
Najib has denied any wrong doing in the Scorpène case, a saga that is closely linked to the murder of Mongolian model Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa.
Najib, accused by opponents of having a hand in the murder, has denied any wrong doing in this case altogether. He even went to a Mosque in Malaysia to swear in Arabic that he had nothing to do with the murder.
The Malaysian PM, accused of siphoning money in the 1MDB saga, has also denied any wrong doing there too.