A two-decade campaign by the French state-owned defense giant DCN and its subsidiaries to sell submarines to the Malaysian Ministry of Defence has resulted in a long tangle of blackmail, bribery, influence peddling, misuse of corporate assets and concealment, among other allegations, according to documents made available to Asia Sentinel.
Some of the misdeeds appear to have taken place with the knowledge of top French government officials including then-foreign minister Alain Juppe and with the consent of former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, according to the documents, comprising 133 separate files and hundreds of pages.
They were presented to the French Prosecuting Magistrate at the Court de Grand Instance de Paris in May and June of 2011. French lawyers have begun preparing subpoenas for leading Malaysian politicians including Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, the current Defence Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and several other figures.
The documents were sent anonymously to Asia Sentinel via a circuitous route that took them to Brussels, Belgium; Lagos, Nigeria; Brazzaville, Congo; Libreville, Gabon; then to Leipzig, Germany and finally to Hong Kong.
The documents, written in French, can be found in a collection in Asia Sentinel’s Scribd account.
The documents were compiled as a result of a raid on April 7, 2010, when scores of investigators from the anti-organized and financial crime unit of the French Directorate of Judicial Police swooped down on DCN’s offices at 19 rue du Colonel Pierre Avia in Paris’s 15th Arondissement, and four other locations, demanding that stunned officials give them access to safes, files and computers.
They collected thousands of documents that form the bulk of the files delivered to Asia Sentinel.
Together, they present a damning indictment of Malaysian officials whose goal was to steer a €114.96 million (US$114.3 million at current exchange rates) payment through a private company called Perimekar Sdn Bhd, wholly owned by Abdul Razak Baginda.
Razak Baginda was then the head of a Malaysian think tank called Malaysian Strategic Research, which was connected with the United Malays National Organization, the country’s biggest political party.