French probe: New names emerge, focus Perimekar, Altantuya

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

It looks like private investigator P Balasubramaniam has done it again. In 2008, he shocked the nation with an explosive statutory declaration implicating Prime Minister Najib Razak, his wife Rosmah Mansor and their friend Razakk Baginda in the Altantuya murder and Scorpene submarines kickback case.

In 2009, he emerged after 15 months in hiding and told of how it was Najib’s younger brother, Nazim, who offered him RM5 million to retract his statement and flee the country immediately.

Now in 2010, Bala tells his countrymen how French prosecutors sought information from him in relation to the two submarines that Najib ordered from French arms giant DCNS when he was still the defense minister in 2002.

Two new names?
Going through the 19-point statement that Bala wrote himself, it appears the French authorities were quite meticulous in their interview. Bala’s own background and credibility was checked and tested before moving into other areas of questioning.

Two names that did not appear in the 2008 statutory declaration emerged on Monday – Major Rahim and Abdul Rahim bin Saad. The French wanted to know the identity of the two Malaysians, their background and involvement. Bala did not say if he knew them, or told the French about them, or if it was the French themselves who brought up the names to check if he knew of them.

But judging from the sequence of the questioning, it is likely that Major Rahim and Abdul Rahim are linked to the Scorpenes purchase, which the French authorities are probing to find if it is true that DCNS had paid a kickback to Razak Baginda’s firm Perimekar.

Baginda is a close friend of the Malaysian leader and Perimekar was awarded a 114 million euros or RM570 million co-ordination and support services deal as part of an overall RM6.7 billion acquisition package. There are rampant accusations that this contract was tantamount to a kickback to Najib.Following his refusal to initiate a probe, civil rights group SUARAM lodged a complaint in Paris on behalf of Malaysian taxpayers against DCNS. The Malaysian complaint gave impetus to the French probe.


At Monday’s interview, Bala said the French also focused on Razak Baginda’s relationship with Najib, certain information and events that Baginda had told him about, including an SMS Najib sent to Baginda when the latter was arrested for abetting the Altantuya murder. Baginda was controversially acquitted and discharged without his defense being called.

The French prosecutors also spent time on Perimekar, its ownership, the sort of business it does and its link to Baginda and the PM. They also wanted to know about the financial payments Baginda made to Altantuya including three US$5,000 remittances, the apartment he bought for her in Mongolia and the US$500,000 share of commission she claimed was due to her.

Bala said the French prosecutors questioned the basis for Altantuya’s demand, was it related to the Scorpenes, her role in the acquisition negotiations as well as Baginda’s “confirmation” that “he should have paid Altantuya the money”.

Altantuya and her cousin Ammy

The prosecutors also asked Bala for the identity of French individuals involved in the deal and whether they had made payments to Perimekar.

Very interestingly, the French prosecutors also asked for information concerning Altantunya’s cousin Ammy, who purportedly has knowledge of a dinner Najib had together with Baginda and Altantuya when the trio was in Paris at the same time.  It gives rise to speculation that the French police may be able to uncover information linking the Malaysian PM to Altantuya.

But that was not all.

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