Altantuya ‘mystery’ continues – more evidence revealed in France (Part 1)

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Asia Sentinel – Although French officials have said they had no record that a murdered Mongolian woman connected to Malaysia’s long-running submarine scandal ever entered France, the one man who knew she did was Abdul Razak Baginda, who accompanied her there.

The political analyst was absolved of ordering her murder in October of 2007.*

In a sworn affidaviit recorded on Oct. 31, 2006, and read to the High Court in Kuala Lumpur by Razak Baginda’s lawyer, Wong Kian Kheong on Jan. 19, 2007, the political analyst said he had carried on a romance with Altantuya Shaariibuu, who died at age 28. The couple went from Hong Kong to China to Singapore, Malaysia – and France – from the end of 2004 to sometime in August of 2005, when he dumped her. Altantuya apparently entered France under the name Shaariybuu Bayasgalan, born on 26 February 1979 in Mongolia, accoding to documents obtained by Asia Sentinel. She was issued a temporary residency card on the French territory valid from 27 August 2004 to 26 November 2004. The address declared was 18 rue Houdon in Paris 18.”

A Malaysian website alleged that documents in a trove of 133 official French court records  made public by Asia Sentinel in the sub case supposedly show that investigators had no record that Altantuya had ever entered France, and no record that she had anything to do with the case. As Asia Sentinel reported on June 25 the investigators are pursuing allegations of bribes, kickbacks and other corruption against officials of the French defense company DCN and its subsidiaries as well as both French and Malaysian authorities.

However, the records show, Razak Baginda and Altantuya took at least one sojourn to Macau which was paid for by mystery man Jean Marie Boivin, the former chief international finance officer of the French company DCN. In Document D000136, a former DCNS financial director told French investigators that “”Mr. Jean-Marie Boivin told me that Mr. Souvageot from Armaris asked him to take charge part of Mr. Baginda’s expenses via Gifen because Thales couldn’t take them into account. I don’t know for what reason, these expenses did not fit Thales. According to Mr. Boivin, it was about the trip expenses of Mr. Baginda with his interpreter Madame Altantuya Shaariibuu”.

Questions over whether Altantuya had ever been in France have become a sideshow in the wider scandal of the two-decade campaign by DCN and its subsidiaries to sell submarines to the Malaysian Ministry of Defense. The matter has resulted in a long tangle of allegations of blackmail, bribery, influence peddling, misuse of corporate assets and concealment, among others. Malaysia’s mainstream media, owned by the country’s major ruling political parties, have trumpeted erroneous stories over whether she had visited the country, and pro-government blogs have featured it prominently.

(continued in Part 2)