Friday, 22 July 2011

Bourdon: Scorpene court case will reveal beneficiaries

French lawyer William Bourdon said those beneficiaries and kickbacks from the RM7.3 billion Scorpene submarine deal would be revealed when the matter is raised in a French corruption trial against defence giant DCNS.

ops scorpene dinner 220711 crowdAddressing a packed dinner in Penang last night to raise funds for the trial, Bourdon said the case would also expose details of secret meetings of those involved.

He said that he and his legal team from Sherpa, a non-profit organisation, are committed to exposing such details to ensure that Malaysians would obtain "truth and justice".

"Despite many obstacles and although such proceedings are complex and difficult, the truth shall emerge in France and we will expose the corruption related to the submarine deal.

ops scorpene dinner 220711 willian bourdon"We will reveal and disclose details on all the beneficiaries. I am confident that Malaysians can overcome difficulties and I wish you courage," he told 600 attendees at the dinner dubbed 'Ops Scorpene', organised by human rights advocacy group Suaram.

Suaram had filed a legal case against DCNS back in 2009 over alleged irregularities in the deal. The matter has passed the initial inquiry stage and is expected to be heard in French courts in September.

The Najib link

Thus far, Bourdon's team have uncovered evidence which may point to millions of ringgit paid out to top Malaysian government officials.

They have also claimed that two individuals - Abdul Razak Baginda and Altantuya Shaariibuu - had benefitted from a French company in form of travel expenses.

This has added intrigue to the case which is bound to create ripples when the matter goes to court.

NONEAt the time of the deal, Abdul Razak ran a defence procurement company and was also a defence and political analyst. But he was better known as a confidante to Najib Abdul Razak, then deputy prime minister and defence minister.

Altantuya, reportedly fluent in French and Russian, was believed to have worked for Abdul Razak as a translator.

azlanIn 2009, Najib's two bodyguards were convicted of murdering Altantuya by blowing her body to bits with military grade explosives in 2006, while Abdul Razak was acquitted of abetting the duo.

The legal case was filed last year by Suaram with the help of Bourdon and his team over claims that DCNS paid RM540 million in commission to Perimekar. Such payments are illegal under French laws.

Perimekar is a subsidiary of KS Ombak Laut Sdn Bhd, of which the major shareholder is Abdul Razak's wife, Mazlinda Makhzan.

Overcoming obstacles in Paris

Thus far, Bourdon has uncovered another 30 million euros (RM150 million) paid to DCNS' commercial network Thales and another 2.5 million euros (RM7.5 million) to an unknown recipient.

ops scorpene dinner 220711 psm campaignSuaram recently revealed that a third commission, an amount bigger than the earlier two, had been paid to highly placed government officials.

Bourdon said the crime of corruption is always "secret in nature" and the Sherpa team had to overcome many obstacles in the course of their investigation.

"Another characteristic of corruption is that its beneficiaries seek impunity. This makes it difficult for us to obtain truth and justice.

"But I assure you that we will continue the fight against corruption and I asked the Malaysian people to continue the struggle as we need courage, tenacity and patient to deal with corruption," he said.

The case has seen some progress in France after documents related to the deal have been seized by the police in a raid on the company allegedly involved in the scandal.

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