Friday 2 September 2011

Suaram takes Scorpene campaign to London

Human rights NGO Suaram, which filed a case against French giant shipbuilder DCNS for allegedly paying millions in kickbacks to top Malaysian officials, is taking its fundraising event to London in October.

France-based lawyers from Sherpa, a non-profit organisation dealing with human rights legal issues that is representing Suaram in the case, will also make their way to the event to brief participants on the controversial matter.

The alleged scandal took place when Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was deputy prime minister and defence minister, and involves the RM7.3 billion purchase of two Scorpene class submarines in 2002 by the Malaysian government.

azlanWhen contacted, Paris-based legal counsel for Suaram, Joseph Breham, said he would be in London for the event in October. As of now, he will embark on the trip alone.
However, he may not be offering any new updates on the case, from what has been already expressed in Malaysia when his partner, William Bourdon, spoke in Penang during Suaram's first fundraising event in July.

Bourdon was subsequently deported when he left Penang for Kuala Lumpur to attend two more events - in Petaling Jaya and Ipoh.

Asked if he would be revealing more intriguing details about the controversial Scorpene affair, Breham replied in the negative.

“There is no new element not covered by professional privilege in the case for the moment,” he told Malaysiakini.

“I should go to London in October, whether Bourdon will attend the meeting is still not certain,” he added.
Parliament has been told that the subs deal netted Perimekar, an obscure consulting company, RM540 million in “commissions”.

Perimekar is a subsidiary of KS Ombak Laut Sdn Bhd, in which Maslinda Makhzan, the wife of Najib's close confidante Abdul Razak Baginda, is the major shareholder.
NONEThe case is expected to be heard in Paris as early as mid-September. The payment of commissions to government officials is illegal under French law.

Suaram director Cynthia Gabriel (right) confirmed the London event, saying Suaram was collaborating with Solicitors International - a legal human rights working group - to organise the event.

She said the function would be an open forum that is expected to see about 300 participants, mostly Malaysians living in London.

Paris courts to appoint examining judge

Cynthia also said that if everything went well, the Paris court would appoint an examining judge to oversee the case in open court, which is expected to reveal damaging information on French and Malaysian arms deals.

“It is hoped this can happen before our event in October, so we can brief the participants who attend the event in London about it,” she added.

“But anything can happen as the situation in France is also politically charged, with their election coming up next year,” she said.

Meanwhile, Najib is facing falling support for his leadership as reported by survey house Merdeka Center.
The KL-based centre recently reported that his ratings dipped six percent in the last three months, but Najib's allies and supporters have questioned the credibility of the report.

mongolian woman bombed altantuya 081106Recently, the alleged scandal took a suspicious turn when Suaram revealed that a shady company in Malta had been financing the travels of Abdul Razak and Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu to Macau and Hong Kong.

The same company, called Gifen, had also been allegedly paying for a third “mysterious” individual who was on the same business trip with the couple, Suaram added,

Altantuya, reportedly Abdul Razak's mistress, was found murdered in 2006 in a jungle clearing in Shah Alam, her body blown to bits by C4 explosives only accessible from the Defence Ministry.

Abdul Razak and two of Najib's bodyguards were charged with murdering her, but Abdul Razak was acquitted without his defence being called.

Najib has denied all allegations related to Altantuya and has sworn in a mosque that he had never known the Mongolian.

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