Malaysiakini NEWS

Razak Baginda denies fleeing, unfazed about being targeted

Zikri Kamarulzaman  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Abdul Razak Baginda, a close associate of former premier Najib Abdul Razak, has denied talk of having fled the country.

The political analyst also said he is not concerned about being targeted by the new Pakatan Harapan government over the Scorpene scandal and Altantuya Shaariibuu murder.

"I have never fled. These are all unfounded rumours.

"There was a trial (over the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya) and I was in remand in prison for close to two years till the conclusion of the lengthy trial. I was prosecuted.

"Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammed has said the government will adhere to the rule of law and any issue of re-trial has to be in accordance with the law based on evidence and not rumours or allegations," he told Malaysiakini.

Earlier today, former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram had called for a fresh probe into the Scorpene case and purported kickbacks in the purchase of the submarines.

He also noted the related allegations including the Altantuya murder.

The Scorpene case concerns Malaysia's purchase of two Scorpene-class submarines for around €1 billion from France's Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN) in 2002, which allegedly involved kickbacks.

At the time of the Scorpene deal, Najib was the defence minister.  

Abdul Razak admitted to receiving around €30 million (RM137 million) from French company Thales for lobbying work, but denied using it to bribe Malaysian officials.

Last August, it was reported that French human rights lawyer William Bourdon confirmed Abdul Razak had been indicted in Paris over alleged kickbacks in the sale of submarines to Malaysia.

Abdul Razak's office, however, said news reports about this were inaccurate and that a charge under the French legal system only equated to a formal inquiry.

The sale had gone largely unnoticed until 2006, when Altantuya's murder raised questions about the deal.

Altantuya, who in initial reports had allegedly helped in the negotiations that led to the purchase of the submarines, was also the jilted lover of Abdul Razak.

The “architect” of the Scorpene deal, Jasbir Singh Chahl, however, said that Altantuya was never involved in the contract nor was she an interpreter for the deal.

Abdul Razak said he had also only met Altantuya in 2005, three years after the Scorpene deal took place.

He was charged with abetment for her murder though he was later acquitted.

Former police special operations personnel chief inspector Azilah Hadri and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, who had also served as Najib's bodyguards, were found guilty of murdering Altantuya in January 2015 and sentenced to death.

However, Sirul had fled to Australia when the pair was acquitted prior to the Federal Court overturning the decision.

Sirul is being held at an immigration centre and Australian law prevents those facing the death penalty in their home countries to be sent back.

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