Secret documents sold to French company
The evaluation documents by the Malaysian Navy on the Scorpene submarine was sold for RM142 million.PETALING JAYA: A highly-confidential government document — an evaluation by the Malaysian Navy of the Scorpene-class submarine and contract details — was allegedly sold to a French defence company for 36 million euros (RM142 million), according to human rights NGO Suaram.
Lawyers acting for the Suaram in an ongoing French judicial inquiry said that the secret document was sold by Terasasi (Hong Kong) Ltd to French defence giant DCNS, ostensibly for “commercial engineering” works.
This was among the major aspects that the French investigative judge probing the case lodged by Suaram against Paris-owned shipmaker DCNS for alleged corruption are looking at.
According to French lawyer acting for Suaram, Joseph Breham, the French judge had inquired what those payments were and had demanded reports of financial transactions.
The lawyer had said it was even possible that Thales, a subsidiary of DCN, decided to pay the money to obtain the classified document so that it could better its bid for the project.
Directors of the Hong Kong-based Terasasi include Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s close ally Abdul Razak Baginda and the latter’s father Abdul Malim Baginda.
The secret document was allegedly sold to Thales International, also known as Thint Asia, which is a subsidiary of DCN (later known as DCNS).
DCNS is the company central in the legal suit filed by Suaram in 2009 in the French courts, which recently commenced a judicial inquiry at the Tribunal De Grande Instance in Paris.
The inquiry revolves around the RM7.3 billion deal to purchase two Scorpene submarines with DCNS and Spainish Navantia in 2002, when Najib was defence minister. Suaram’s complaint was based on the claim of corruption for a payment amounting to 114 million euros from DCNS to Perimekar.
Perimekar is also directly linked to Abdul Razak who was acquitted of abetting in the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu; while two of Najib’s former bodyguards were convicted for the murder.
Speaking to FMT from Bangkok, Suaram director Cynthia Gabriel said that the selling of the secret document for 36 million euro amounted to an act of treason, on top of it being most probably a corrupt act.
“This is downright illegal. Clearly an act of treason as it is a breach of defence secrets by selling state secrets. It is classified as a confidential document by Royal Malaysian Navy for the government, supposed to be in internal document that comes under the Official Secrets Act, and you sold it to a French company? You are not supposed to do this,” she said.
Cynthia said this was “one of the big scandals” that had surfaced from the Suaram trial, and the information was among the hundreds of French’s prosecution investigative documents that Suaram currently has privileged access to.
“Indeed a very devious act. There is clearly a possibility of money laundering, or the money could be channeled to various beneficiaries including political organisations in Malaysia. This is corrupt and we think it is a sweetener to buy off some people,” she said.
“We now want to ask who benefited from this? When we went through the Paris papers. these was among the most startling issues. Before this we only know of Perimeker, now there is the emergence of the company Terasasi was actually key many answers, to showing how the money trail became more complicated, involving another Asian country, in the transfer of monies,” she said.
Cynthia said everybody is “shocked at the scale of the robbery” and “there is no longer space for silence”.
“It has become incumbent on the Malaysian government to give a proper explanation on the money that has been dished out. They cannot keep all these away from the public. We believe that there are many more skeletons in the closets and many more secrets that need to be unraveled .”
Cynthia was together with Breham, lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and R Sivarasa in Bangkok to reveal ‘damning details’ on the Scorpene case. A press conference at the Foreign Correspondence Club of Thailand was held yesterday.The conference was held in Bangkok as Breham was unable to get a proper visa to enter Malaysia. Another French lawyer acting for Suaram, William Bourdon, was last year deported from Malaysia.