PETALING JAYA: Abdul Razak Baginda’s fate is now in the hands of a French magistrate, says a local lawyer.
The lawyer, who did not wish to be named, said based on the information given, it is ultimately up to the magistrate to decide whether there is a case or not, pertaining to the ongoing French inquiry into alleged corruption in the purchase of the Scorpene submarines by the Malaysian government in 2002.
“The magistrate will then direct the police to investigate the matter and when the magistrate thinks the case is worthy, charges will be made accordingly,” the lawyer said.
“Every country has it’s own legal system. If the legal system in France thinks that there is a case, then they will make the necessary charges and proceed with the trial.
“These allegations fall exclusively under French jurisdiction. Even though it involves a Malaysian and Malaysian assets, there will be no charges, there will be no trial to be conducted in Malaysia,” the lawyer told FMT.
Yesterday, Agence-France Presse (AFP), had quoted a French judicial source as saying that Razak had been charged in France on July 18, over alleged kickbacks in the 2002 sale of submarines to Malaysia.
At the time of the submarine deal, Razak was an adviser to Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was then defence minister.
The report said Najib oversaw the deal worth nearly €1 billion (US$1.18 billion) to buy two Scorpene-class submarines and one Agosta-class submarine from French naval dockyards unit DCN, which is linked to French defence group Thales.
An investigation into the deal was launched in 2010 in response to a complaint from Malaysian rights group Suaram.
The investigation revealed that another company, Terasasi, whose main shareholder was Razak, received €30 million for what was billed as consultancy work, but which investigators believe was really a front for kickbacks.
Quoting a judicial source, the newswire reported Razak was charged on July 18 with “active and passive complicity in corruption” and “misappropriation of corporate assets”.
Four French defence industry executives have already been charged since the investigation began.
All four men deny the charges against them.
The French investigators are also looking into allegations that €114 million was paid to a purported Malaysia-based shell company, Perimekar, as part of the deal. That company was controlled at the time by Razak’s wife.
Meanwhile, Razak has since released a statement denying he had been charged in a French court, and saying the report was misleading as the French legal system differed from that of Malaysia.