A French police investigation has revealed that a person named Altantuya Shaariibuu has never entered France from 1999 to 2006.
Their investigation finds that there are no immigration records of an “Altantuya Shaariibuu” entering France in that period, raising a red flag on the existence of a photograph of the Mongolian, Najib Tun Razak and Abdul Razak Baginda in Paris, allegedly taken between 2004 and 2006.
This is revealed in confidential investigative documents submitted to the French judicial inquiry which is looking into alleged kickbacks in the Scorpene submarine deal between French firm DCNS and the Malaysian government.
The French investigation also revealed that there are no immigration records to show that Prime Minister Najib and his close aide Abdul Razak had entered France from 1999 to 2006.
However, another investigative document revealed that Najib, then a defence minister, and Abdul Razak were part of an official entouarge to Paris from June 16 to June 18, 2000.
Najib made further visits to France in July 2001, July 2003, June 2005 and October 2007 but it is possible that Najib and his entourage could have entered France through diplomatic channel.
The confidential documents also revealed that DCNS officials had also informed French police that they never met a person named Altantuya and do not know who she is in the course of their negotiations for the Scorpene deal.
The DCNS officials had further informed the French police that the negotiations for the submarines were done in Malaysia and not in France.
One official – DCNS’ former sales manager to Malaysia Fredric Faura – told the French investigators the negotiations were in English and not in French, so there is no need for an interpreter.
Furthermore, Altantuya did not speak French so she could not have acted as an English-French interpreter.
He also alluded that he had not met or known Altantuya.
“You ask me if Altantuya was present at these meetings; I say that all Malaysians have perfect English and an interpreter is unnecessary,” was his response to a question by the French police.
Likewise, Jasbir Singh Chahl, who is reported by Malaysian NGO Suaram as being the first Malaysian to be subpoenaed as a witness in the Scorpene case, also told the French police that he has never met Altantuya and that she was not involved in the submarine negotiations.
If there are no records of Altantuya entering France, questions are bound to rise over the so-called photo being taken of herself, Najib and Abdul Razak in Paris.
At a press conference held by Altantuya’s father Setev in Kuala Lumpur on April 10, he claimed that he had seen the said photograph. He said that his daughter had showed him the photograph, and that “a lot of witnesses have seen this picture”.
That was the last time he had seen his daughter as she was later found murdered by being shot in her head and her remains blown up with C4 explosives in October 2006.
Abdul Razak – the owner of Perimekar Sdn Bhd and the middleman in the submarine deal – was charged with two Special Action Squad members — Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar — over Altantuya’s murder but he was subsequently acquitted of a charge of abetment.
His co-accused were found guilty and sentenced to death. As part of his defence, Abdul Razak had admitted that Altantuya was his lover since 2004, and that they had parted ways the next year.
Setev is now claiming that his daughter’s murder was linked to the submarine deal.
On June 4, international journalist Roger Mitton wrote in a Cambodian newspaper that “soon after meeting her in Hong Kong, Abdul Razak took her off to tour Europe in his red Ferrari, wining and dining at all the best spots and finally ending up in Paris where they met Najib”.
In fact, ever since Altantuya’s remains were recovered in the early hours of Oct 19, 2006, Najib’s detractors had jumped onto the bandwagon to link him to the murder, allegedly over the submarine deal.
Many opposition leaders have claimed that they were aware of the photograph which showed Najib, Abdul Razak and Altantuya being together in Paris but so far the photo has not surfaced anywhere.
Nevertheless, they continue to link Najib to her murder, despite the prime minister’s vehement denials of even meeting her, let alone knowing her.
Suaram has successfully sought for a judicial inquiry at the Tribunal De Grande Instance in Paris to probe alleged corruption crimes and illegal bribes involving top officials from both Malaysia and France in the submarine deal.
Suaram claims that DCNS had paid bribery amounting to 114 million euros to Perimekar, with help from Altantuya, who was later gruesomely murdered for allegedly asking a part of the bribe.