Altantuya ‘mystery’ continues – more evidence revealed in France (Part 2)

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On Dec. 5, 2007, Asia Sentinel published 10 pictures of Altantuya in a variety of poses on a variety of locations in Paris including in front of Louis Vuitton’s iconic store as well as the Eiffel Tower, the Cathedral de Notre Dame, the Place de Concorde and other locations. At least one blogger questioned whether the pictures were faked. They were transmitted to Asia Sentinel by the Mongolian Honorary Consul to Malaysia, who would hardly have been suspected of faking them.

Altantuya was murdered between 10 pm on Oct 19 and 1 am on Oct 20 of that year, police said. Her body was found in a patch of jungle near the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Shah Alam after she had been shot twice in the head and torn apart with C4 explosives. Two bodyguards of then Defense Minister Najib Tun Razak were convicted of the slaying for hire and remain on death row.

Although Razak Baginda acknowledged in his affidavit that he had asked the two defendants to “do something” about the woman, who was harassing him for a US$500,000 payment, he was absolved of the slaying without having to put on a defense.

Altantuya was described as a freelance translator in stories at the time. According to a letter left behind after her death, she said she had been offered the payment by Razak Baginda. The letter was made public after her death, saying she regretted she was attempting to “blackmail” the married Razak Baginda although she did not say what she was blackmailing him for.

In his affidavit, Razak Baginda said Altantuya had demanded money from him and blackmailed him

Defense Chief: No News

In a related matter, any expectation that Malaysian Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would provide a government explanation of the submarine case, it disappeared when Ahmad Zahid told Parliament in a brief five-minute address that his ministry knows nothing about allegations that state secrets had been sold to foreign countries by a company wholly owned by Razak Baginda, according to the Malaysian news website Malaysiakini.

The Hong Kong-based Terasasi HK Ltd., whose only two officers are Razak Baginda and his father, is alleged to have received €36 million from DCNS for among others, the ‘sale’ of a highly confidential report comprising the Malaysian Navy’s evaluation for the order of the submarines.

“As far as the ministry knows, to date there has been no detection of information being leaked out of Malaysia,” he said in his adjournment speech to Parliament about 10 minutes before midnight.

“The ministry also does not have any information about claims that Terasasi received periodical payments from Thint Asia,” he said. His comments were the first official response given to Parliament close to a month after the alleged sales of Malaysian defense secrets was revealed by human rights group Suaram in Bangkok. – (Asia Sentinel)