Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda admitted to receiving around 30 million euro (RM137 million) for consultancy services in the Scorpene submarine deal but denied any of the money went to bribing government officials on behalf of French company Thales.
“It was a legitimate agreement. I did my job and I got paid for it.
“And I never paid any official," he was quoted as saying by the Financial Times .
This was in reference to Malaysia's purchase of two Scorpene-class submarines in 2002 when Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who was then the deputy premier, helmed the Defence Ministry.
Razak Baginda was responding to the indictment of Thales International Asia former president Bernard Baiocco last December for "active bribery of foreign public officials linked to Najib Razak".
Razak denied having served as a paid advisor to Najib and said he had only "rarely" spoken to him about the submarine deal "over a cup of tea", according to Financial Times .
Baiocco's lawyer, Jean-Yves Le Borgne, said his client admits the money was paid to Baginda for lobbying works but accused prosecutors of "legal acrobatics" in trying to claim the payment were used to bribe government officials.
"They suspect the minister received some money but they have never had anything to prove that," he was quoted in the article.
Le Borgne also confirmed that Najib and Baginda were named in judicial documents.
The report also quoted a Malaysian government spokesperson as saying the allegations of wrongdoing against Najib in the Scorpene deal was "baseless smears for political gain".
The spokesperson also stressed that Najib had not benefited from any payments from the deal nor has he been contacted by French investigators.