French investigating magistrates probing the US$1.2 billion (RM3.7 billion) sale of submarines to the Malaysian Defence Ministry are targeting, among other things, a Hong Kong-based company called Terasasi (Hong Kong) Ltd, whose key principal officer is Prime Minister Najib Razak's confidant Abdul Razak Baginda.
Investigators believe that at least some of the 36 million euro (RM144 million) funnelled through Terasasi ended up in the pockets of Najib, who was defence minister and deputy prime minister when the two Scorpene submarines were purchased from Thales International or Thint Asia.
The state-owned defence giant DCN, later known as DCNS, and Thales established a joint company named Armaris to manufacture the submarines in 2002.
The two Armaris Scorpenes, named after the first prime minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, and Najib's father, Tun Abdul Razak, are on duty in Malaysian waters.
Razak Baginda, the former head of a Malaysian think-tank who was at the centre of a 2006 investigation into the death of Mongolian translator and party girl Altantuya Shaariibuu, is listed as one of the two directors of the company, which was previously incorporated on June 28, 2002, as Kinabalu Advisory and Support Services Ltd, according to the Hong Kong Companies Registry.
The other director is Razak Baginda's father, Abdul Malim Baginda...