Suaram hails indictments in French Scorpene probe


Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Human rights NGO Suaram, which in 2009 filed a suit against a French defence company over irregularities in the sale of two Scorpene-class submarines to Malaysia, today welcomed the French investigators’ decision to indict two former top executives involved in the deal.

 Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy said that after such a long time without any development in the case, the NGO was cheered by the latest news.

“We have waited a long time. This is definitely what we have been hoping for, if the case proceeds. Malaysians have the right to know what happened,” he told FMT.French news agency AFP, in a report today quoting sources, said French investigators charged two company executives involved in the sale of the Scorpene submarines costing US$1.1 billion to Malaysia in 2002.

The two are Philippe Japiot, former chairman of the French naval dockyards unit DCNI, and Jean-Paul Perrier, former chief executive officer of the French defence and electronics giant Thales.

The two were interviewed in May in connection with corruption and commission allegations.

Japiot has additionally been indicted for “abuse of social assets” and Perrier for “complicity in the abuse of social assets,” one of the sources said.

The investigation was launched in 2010 in response to a complaint by Suaram.

The complaint centred on allegations that the French submarine maker paid a commission of more than €114 million (RM560 million based on current exchange rates) to a purported shell company linked to Abdul Razak Baginda, a former close associate of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Najib was the defence minister when the deal for the submarines was sealed.

The deal attracted worldwide controversy after a 28-year-old Mongolian national, Altantuya Shariibuu, who reportedly acted as an interpreter during the negotiations for the submarines, was found sensationally murdered in Shah Alam in 2006.

She was shot and her body blown to pieces with C-4 military-grade explosives.

Two policemen, who were members of a bodyguard detail for Najib, were charged with her murder and sentenced to death.

However, Razak Baginda, who admitted to be a former lover of Altantuya, was acquitted of abetting in the murder.

Sevan said the two French individuals indicted were key executives who headed their organisations.

“Let’s see what happens next,” he said, adding that Suaram would call its lawyer in France to obtain more information about the case.