KINIGUIDE | Interest in the Scorpene scandal has resurfaced since the indictment of two former top executives by French investigators last Wednesday.
This is part of their probe on alleged kickbacks from the 2002 sale of two Scorpene-class attack submarines to Malaysia.
What was the 2002 sale of Scorpene submarines about, again?
In 2002, Malaysia signed a deal to purchase two Scorpene-class submarines, supposedly for one billion euros, from France’s Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN), later renamed to DCNS and then to Naval Group, and Spain’s Navantia. Armaris, a joint-venture between DCN and French defence and electronics giant Thales, was to be the prime contractor for the sale.
At the material time, the current Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was then the defence minister.
How did that become a scandal?
The sale went largely unnoticed until 2006, when the murder of 28-year-old Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu began to raise questions about the Scorpene deal.
Altantuya, who had reportedly helped in the negotiations that led to the purchase of the submarines, was also the jilted lover of Abdul Razak Baginda, Najib’s former close associate, who was also one of those involved in brokering the Scorpene submarines deal.
Abdul Razak was also charged with abetment for her murder though he was later acquitted, while two special task force officers who were formerly Najib’s bodyguards were charged and convicted of her murder.
Following the Altantuya case, the opposition alleged corruption in the Scorpene deal.
It was said that RM540 million was paid out in “commission” for the deal, with one of the recipients being a company called Perimekar Sdn Bhd, which is purportedly linked to Abdul Razak and that the payment ultimately benefitted Najib....