French probe did unearth Scorpene links to Altantuya

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While news reports had it that French prosecution papers disclosed that Altantuya Shaariibuu had never entered France, none mentioned that a witness had claimed that a Malta company paid for her travels with political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda.

During an interview between Paris-based submarine maker DCNS former financial director Gérard-Philippe Menayas and French police, it was revealed that Gifen paid Razak's travel expenses with his interpreter "Madam Altantuya Sharibuu".

According to Menayas, a Mr Jean-Marie Boivin from Thales International told him that a Mr Souvageot from Armaris asked him to take charge of Razak's expenses via Gifen as his firm could not do it.

According to news reports, Boivin set up Gifen in Malta - or such companies were established in different countries - to dodge Organization for Economic and Social Development (OECD) rules that made such transactions a crime.

"I asked for confirmation from Christian de Bearegard, the person-in-charge of the management of marketing companies at DCNI but he told me that he didn't know of such a request," Menayas told French police.

"Mr. Boivin confided in me in 2005-2006 or about 3 years after the event, during our frequent meetings," he added.

These details were revealed in the French police investigation papers document 136 (pages 8-11) of 153 which have been translated into English and released online by the Asia Sentinel .

How funds were channeled

Gifen was allegedly one of the companies which transferred funds up to Euro800 mil (RM3194 mil) to Perimekar Sdn Bhd (€550 million (RM2,195mil ) and Terasasi (€150 million (RM599 mil ).

Thales and Amaris were subsidiaries of DCNS which dealt with the Malaysian counterpart on the sales of the submarines.

The two Malaysian companies based in Hong Kong are owned by Razak and his family, who have close links to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Razak ( left ) was charged with Altantuya's murder in 2006 but acquitted without his defense being called while two of Najib's former bodyguards are facing the hangman's noose for her causing death.

Najib was then deputy prime minister and defence minister overseeing the purchase of the two scorpene class submarines in a RM7.3 billion deal with DCNS inked in 2002.

Meanwhile, Suaram director Cynthia Gabriel responded to an article on Free Malaysia Today (FMT) headlined " French probe: Altantuya never entered France ".

Gabriel said that while FMT took information from document 54, the news portal did not report another important piece of information from the same document, which read:

"Noting in particular that a person by the name of SHAARIYBUU Bayasgalan born on 26 February 1979 in Mongolia 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."

Altantuya very much involved

Gabriel ( right ) said it has become very likely that Atantuya has travelled under a different name , saying that Suaram finds the report on FMT "misleading and insincere".

She added that document 136 also quoted Menayas as saying that Boivin mentioned the Malta company as paying for Razak and Altantuya's travels.

"So it has become quite clear that Altantuya was very much involved in the Scorpene Scandal, and has even supporting facts to show that she was indeed in France," said Gabriel.

"The question that begs to be answered now is what was her real role in the entire negotiations?" she asked.

Gabriel urged the government to stop the "denial game" and provide proper answers to the questions that have been piling up from the latest revelations of the Scorpene inquiry.

Suaram has filed a court case in France against DCNS for allegedly paying illegal commissions to top Malaysian officials involved in the submarine sales.

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