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Close aide of Najib selling defence secret for 36Million Euros

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French lawyers acting for Malaysian NGO SUARAM have accused a close aide of Prime Minister Najib Razak of selling defence secrets to arms maker DCNS for 36mil euros or RM142 million.

“It was a secret document by the Malaysian Navy, an evaluation for the order of the submarines, which is a highly confidential report,” Joseph Breham told a press conference in Bangkok on Wednesday.

According to Breham, who heads the SUARAM legal team, French police have uncovered evidence that a firm Terasasi had sold the secret information to the the French naval giant.

The latest news harking at treason is bound to jolt Malaysians, already worried and demoralized by the endemic corruption in Najib’s ruling Umno party. As Breham pointed out, even in France selling highly-classified papers to another country is a breach of defence secrets and illegal.

“It’s treason because you are selling a competitor or a foreign country what you think about a specific weapon, and your plan on how to use this specific weapon. In France, if you release them, you can be punished up to 10 years’ jail,” he said

All the way to Hong Kong to cover up trails

Terasasi is controlled by Razak Baginda, who has been accused of acting as Najib’s proxy and pocketing a 570 mil euros kickback from the Malaysian government’s RM 7.3 bil purchase of 2 Scorpene submarines.

Baginda and his father Abdul Malim are directors in Terasasi. Terasasi was incorporated in Hong Kong and was originally known as Kinabalu Advisory and Support Services Ltd.

Najib was the defense minister who had sanctioned the 2002 purchase. Baginda had been a lecturer in the Ministry of Defence and also headed a private strategic think-tank.

According to Breham, the report pertained to “commercial engineering” works. “They were given information which is already available on the Internet and newspapers, except for this one document,” Breham said, referring to investigating magistrates at the Paris court where open trial began last month.

The Daim connection

After failing to get the Malaysian government to start a full-scale probe against the alleged creaming of taxpayers’ money by the top leadership, SUARAM had filed a complaint in Paris in 2010 against DCNS for allegedly having bribed Malaysian officials to secure the controversial acquisition.

It is illegal in France for firms to offer bribes or commissions to secure a transaction and if DCNS if found guilty, it may have to pay back the Malaysian people. In the process, guilty Malaysian officials will be unmasked – a step that will force the Malaysian government to take action or face worldwide scorn and loss of credibility.

Just a day ago, SURAM had revealed that apart from Najib and Baginda, former finance minister Daim Zainuddin may have also been involved through an ally Mohd Ibrahim Mohd Noor.

Documents seized by the French police included a document tagged “Malaysia”, wherein there was a confidential report regarding PERIMEKAR and TERASASI – two firms linked to Baginda.

This report included a note on “Retracing the background of negotiations”, which stated that pursuant to the major defense contracts between France and Malaysia, there was a requirement that substantial transfer of money had to be channeled to individuals and/or political organizations.

“The note specifically states that apart from individuals, the ruling party (Umno) is the biggest beneficiary. Consultants (company agents) are often used as political network agents to facilitate these monetary transfers and to receive commissions from their mandators. The note mentions about Mohd Ibrahim Mohd Noor and Abdul Razak as points of reference for the political network,” said SUARAM in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Baginda took over from Mohd Ibrahim as Najib’s power waxed and Daim’s waned

The note also said that by early 2001, Mohd Ibrahim’s influence began to decline following Daim’s fall from power, which resulted in the disappearance of Mohd Ibrahim Mohd Noor’s name from PERIMEKAR both as shareholder and director. He was later replaced by people of Razak Baginda’s network.

Contrary to some Umno-blogs trying to deflect the blame from Najib to Daim, the documents seized so far by the French police show that Baginda eventually did become the main point of reference for the political network to facilitate the money transfer.

“On the contrary, Razak Baginda maintained excellent ties with the Minister of Defense and the Prime Minister. Furthermore, his wife (Mazlinda) is a close friend of the Minister of Defense’s wife (Rosmah). Therefore, Baginda became the centre of the network: Terasasi is linked to Baginda while PERIMEKAR was initially controlled by Mohd Noor,” the note stated.

C4 was mentioned in the documents seized by the French police

Baginda is being sought as a witness in the French case. He was controversially acquitted from murdering a Mongolian national, Altantuya Shaariibuu, who he admits was his former lover and is believed to know about the Scorpenes transaction.

Altantuya’s father, Setev Shaariibuu, was in Kuala Lumpur last month and shocked the nation when he revealed that his daughter had come to see Najib to “decide something with him”. If true, this would have serious political as well as criminal implications for Najib, who became PM in 2009 and who has steadfastly rebuffed all calls to call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into both the murder ad the Scorpenes purchase.

“I asked her what was her purpose of traveling to Malaysia. She showed me a picture taken in Paris. Three people were in it — Abdul Razak Baginda, Najib, and Altantuya. She said ‘I have to meet important people’, and pointed to Najib,” said Setev.

“She told me she had something to decide with Najib. I told her it was not worth it but she went anyway. A lot of witnesses have seen this picture I was not the only one who saw it So did Burmaa Oyunchimeg, who was a witness and told the court about the matter during the murder trial in 2007.”

Altantuya was murdered in a jungle clearing in Malaysia in 2006 and her body bombed withC4 explosives to prevent identification.

Amongst the documents seized by the French police was a sub-folder entitled “C4” – further strengthening the suspicion that Altantuya was murdered because of her knowledge of the Scorpenes deal and that although two of Najib’s former bodyguards were sentenced to hang for the killing, they were merely acting on orders from ‘above’. – MC