A DEFIANT Abdul Razak Baginda today insisted he is yet to be charged in a court of law in France with allegedly receiving kickbacks in the Scorpene submarines deal, rubbishing a French lawyer’s claim that he has been indicted.
Razak told The Malaysian Insight he had made it clear in his statement that he had not been charged in any French court of law.
“If today is Friday and someone else says it is Thursday, what can we do?
“We have already come out with a statement to say that no one has been charged in a court of law. If a French lawyer says otherwise, that’s his problem,” he said.
In his statement, Razak said the French news reports saying that individuals linked to the purchase of the submarines had been charged were misleading.
AFP had reported that Razak was charged in France over alleged kickbacks in Malaysia’s 2002 purchase of submarines from the French
Razak said the term “charged” in the context of the inquiry means placing the said individuals under “formal investigation”.
“The French legal process is different from the Malaysian legal process. In Malaysia, a person suspected of a crime is investigated and if there is sufficient evidence, the person is charged in a court of law.
“It must be emphasised that it’s an ongoing inquiry and no formal charges in a court of law have been brought against any individual(s),” he said.
Razak expressed frustration at how the reports have been misunderstood, saying he has lost count of the times he has had to explain himself.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had told The Malaysian Insight that he had never agreed to purchase the submarines and that the deal had gone on after he left office.
Razak had advised Prime Minister Najib Razak, then defence minister, on the deal.
Najib oversaw the nearly €1 billion (RM5 billion) deal 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 submarine scandal emerged spectacularly in 2006, when Razak’s Mongolian mistress, who was said to have demanded a pay-off for working as a language translator in the deal, was shot dead and her body blown up with explosives in a remote spot in Malaysia.
A Malaysian court later cleared Razak of abetting the murder, sparking an outcry and allegations of a cover-up.