KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — A highly-confidential government document on the Malaysian Navy’s evaluation of the Scorpene submarines it planned to buy was sold by Terasasi (Hong Kong) Ltd to French defence giant DCNS for €36 million (RM142 million), a lawyer involved in an ongoing inquiry has revealed.
Abdul Razak Baginda, a former think-tank head who was at the centre of a 2006 investigation into the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, is listed as a director of Terasasi with his father, Abdul Malim Baginda.
The company was previously incorporated on June 28, 2002 as Kinabalu Advisory and Support Services Ltd, according to the Hong Kong Companies Registry.
According to a Malaysiakini report, the data was purportedly for “commercial engineering” works, French lawyer Joseph Breham, who is acting for activist group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) in an ongoing inquiry in Paris, told a news conference in Bangkok yesterday.
Suaram had filed a complaint against DCNS in a French court last month. The court’s two-man panel has asked for the shipmaker’s financial transaction reports, Breham said.
“They were given information which is already available on the Internet and newspapers, except for this one document,” Breham said, referring to investigating magistrates at the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance.
“It was a secret document by the Malaysian Navy, an evaluation for the order of the submarines, which is a highly confidential report,” he added.
Breham said that in France “selling” highly-classified papers to another country is a breach of defence secrets and illegal and considered to be treason.
“It’s treason because you are selling a competitor or a foreign country what you think about a specific weapon, and your plan on how to use this specific weapon.
“In France, if you release them, you can be punished up to 10 years’ jail,” he said.
The news conference was held in Bangkok as Breham was unable to secure a visa to enter Malaysia, news portal Malaysiakini reported.
Malaysia paid RM6.7 billion in 2009 for the two submarines of which RM574 million was earmarked for co-ordination and support services for Perimekar Sdn Bhd, owned by Abdul Razak.
Abdul Razak is being sought as a witness in the French case.