Tentatively titled”The translator who got greedy”
This is a true story that happened in Malaysia in 2006
All the elements of a good espionage thriller,murder , international intrigue,blackmail, influential political figures
involving Money, hundreds of millions of Euros!
The Altantuya Shaaribuu’s case: how and why she was murdered!
Published in the Liberation French newspaper on 5th March 2009
This is the English translation of the Liberation French article:
Shaaribuu Setev is a bitter and disappointed man. Yet, behind the saddened face of this Mongolian lies a fierce determination. Seated in a sofa in the lobby of an Ulaan Baataar hotel rattled by gushes of a freezing wind, this sixty years old man is ready to fight. His face features, hardened by the suffering and the stern climate, and his intense gaze tell all. “My daughter has been murdered by Malaysians on Malaysian territory. And they did not have even offer a word of apology,” states this professor of psychology at the National University of Mongolia.
The assassination of his daughter, Altantuya Shaaribuu, took place in October 2006. This was a murder unlike others in a region where business conflicts or petty politics are often settled with a gun. Everything in this case, which started in 2002 when the French Spanish company Armaris concluded the sale of three submarines to the Malaysian government for the amount of one billion Euros, is out of the ordinary.
The impact of the “Altantuya case” in France, Malaysia and Mongolia has yet to reach its climax. The murder of the 28 year old Mongolian was the result of a “commission” at the price of 114 million Euros by Armaris to its Malaysian counterpart. This “commission,” which was acknowledged by the Malaysian government in front of the Parliament in Kuala Lumpur, has triggered a chain of events that has led to the assassination of Altantuya and the disappearance of several key witnesses in the case.
How they killed her. Her body was blown to pieces with C4 explosives!
A report from the Malaysian police, written on 19th november 2006 and which has been kept secret until now (can be read below), reveals dry and precise descriptions as to how this young woman, a member of Asian high society, has been killed. In this document, one of the killers, a policeman of the Malaysian Special Branch named Sirul Omar, replied to the questions of an officer at a police station close to the murder scene. “When the Chinese woman saw that I was taking a gun, she begged me to spare her, saying she was pregnant. Azilah (the commanding officer of Sirul) grabbed her and [threw] her on the ground. I immediately shot the left side of her face. Then Azilah took off her clothes and put them in a black plastic bag. Azilah noticed that her hand was still moving. He ordered me to shoot again, which I did”, said Sirul. This is the first confirmation of Altantuya’s assassins’ identity. “Then we carried her body into the woods. Azilah wrapped the explosives around her legs, her abdomen and her head, and we exploded her.”
The revelation of this report in the French newspaper Liberation is the latest chapter in this colourful and dramatic saga featuring French weapon sellers, Mongolian Shaman, and Malaysian politicians. This case is explosive not only for the Malaysian government, since the deputy Prime minister Najib Razak (who is scheduled to become Prime minister at the end of March) is suspected of having links to the case, but also because it could embarrass the DCNS, this French company specialising in military shipbuilding. The French Spanish company Armaris, which sold two Scorpène and one Agosta submarines to Malaysia in June 2002, was bought by DCNS in 2007.
With her magnetic beauty and sophistication, Altantuya is reminiscent of the troubling image of a Far East Mata Hari. She grew up in Saint Petersburg (Russia), then studied at the Institute of Economic Management in Beijing. Besides speaking English, she is fluent in Russian, Chinese and Korean. The fateful cycle for Altantuya came into gear when she met Abdul Razak Baginda in Hong Kong in 2004. Baginda is a security expert and the director of the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre, a pro-government think-tank. The two quickly became romantically involved. Altantuya, nicknamed Tuya by her friends, proved to be a useful assistant, helping Baginda translate from Russian to English.
Whereas Altantuya is young and beautiful, the rich and alluring Baginda is a well known figure of the Kuala Lumpur’s elite, notably because of his proximity to the Malaysian Deputy Prime minister and minister of Defense Najib Razak (he is also his security affairs adviser). Baginda parades in the most exclusive circles of Kuala Lumpur, sometimes accompanied by his legitimate wife.
In March 2005, Altantuya and Baginda departed for Europe, touring France, Germany, Italy and Portugal in the red Ferrari of Baginda, staying in posh hotels and dining in the finest restaurants of the old Continent. This trip, however, was not only for tourism: the contract for the sale of the submarines had been signed in 2002, but important details had yet to be settled. “We knew that Baginda was used by Deputy Prime minister Najib Razak as an intermediary for weapons systems deals, especially the high level ones,” says a regional security affairs expert.
At the end of March 2005 the couple was in Paris, where they met with Najib Razak. A picture shows the threesome in a Parisian private club. “Tuya showed me the pix. She said that one of the men was her boyfriend, Abdul Razak Baginda, and the other the “big boss”, Najib Razak. I asked her if they were brothers because of the names, but she said no, and that Najib Razak was the ‘prime minister’”, said Amy, Altantuya’s best friend (Najib Razak has sworn on the Koran that he has never met Altantuya). According to a private detective, now in hiding in India, the beautiful Tuya was also the occasional mistress of the deputy Prime minister, who was introduced to her by Baginda at the end of 2004.
The story became dramatic when, in October 2006, Altantuya was informed that the commission paid by the French-Spanish company Armaris had arrived on a Kuala Lumpur bank account. It had been paid to Perimekar, a company owned by Baginda. Altantuya rushed to Kuala Lumpur, in order to claim her share of the commission from Baginda ; she said she was entitled to 500,000 dollars. Baginda and Altantuya broke up prior to this. A jealous Rosmah Mansor, the feared businesswoman and wife of Najib Razak, objected any payment to Altantuya. Altantuya arrived in Kuala Lumpur with two other Mongolian women, one of them was a Shaman responsible for putting a spell on Baginda if he refused to pay. For several days, Altantuya harassed her ex-lover.
On the 18th of October, Baginda could no longer tolerate the daily scenes made by Altantuya in front of his house. He contacted the Director of the Special Branch, Musa Safrie, who happened to also be Najib Razak’saide de camp. On October 19th, 2006, a little before 9 pm, two police officers of the Special Branch, Azilah Hadridan and Sirul Omar, were sent in front of Baginda’s house where Altantuya was gesticulating and shouting. They had the order of “neutralising the Chinese woman.” They kidnapped her, and drove her ten kilometers away and shot her several times. Then, they destroyed her body with C4 explosives, a type which can only be obtained from within the Defense Ministry. Her entry into Malaysia was erased from the immigration records. It would appear that Altantuya had never come to Malaysia, because there is no trace left of her.
There is no perfect crime. The taxi driver hired by Altantuya for the day did not appreciate that his passenger was kidnapped under his eyes without payment for the fare. He took note of the registration plate of the kidnapper’s car and filed a complaint at the local police station. In a few days, the police identified the car and realised that it was a government vehicle.
Events unfolded that even the Deputy Prime minister Najib Razak could not impede. He tried to cover the case. A few hours before the arrest of Baginda, he sent him a SMS: “I will see the Inspector General of Police at 11 am today… The problem will be solved. Be cool”. A few hours after, Baginda was arrested as well as the two police officers of the Special Branch, Azilah and Sirul.
After a trial considered dubious by many observers, Baginda was acquitted with the accusation of having ordered the murder and released in November 2008. Accused of having perpetrated the murder, Azilah and Sirul appeared in front of the Court last month. If convicted, their sentence is death. The verdict is scheduled for the 9th of April.
Thousands of miles from there, in the Mongolian capital city Ulaan Baataar, Shaaribuu Setev, Altantuya’s father, is trying to control his anger. To him and his family, the acquittal and release of Baginda is symbolic of the unfairness of the Malaysian judicial process: “The Malaysian government is not even answering to the letters from the Mongolian Foreign Affairs Ministry,” he says.
When Shaaribuu came to the Malaysian Parliament to meet Najib Razak, the Deputy Prime minister had to escape through a back door in order to avoid an embarrassing encounter. The Altantuya case has become a key element of the Malaysian political game between Najib Razak (who is expected to become Prime Minister after the United Malay Nation Organisation (UMNO) Congress in March) and the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. So far, Najib Razak has navigated around the obstacles, but the murder of the young Mongolian remains a sword suspended over his head.
One of the most obscure aspects of the Altantuya case is the role of the Armaris company. In October 2007, the Malaysian Deputy Defense minister, Zainal Abdidin Zin, acknowledged in front of the Parliament that Armaris had effectively paid 114 million Euros in commission to Perimekar. He maintained that it was not a bribe, but a payment for “support and coordination services.”
Was there corruption as in the case of the Taiwanese frigates in which the French DCNS was also implicated? DCNS, a private company with public financing, has declined our request for a meeting. “Nobody can comment on this case,” was the sober reply of the DCNS Press relations officer in Paris. A document, which could establish a link between Altantuya and the French company is the guarantee letter written by Abdul Razak Baginda so that his mistress could obtain a visa to enter the Schengen zone (of whom France is a member country). The French embassy could not refuse this service to a man decorated with the Legion d’Honneur. But the role of Altantuya in the submarines negotiations is still not clear. Intelligence agencies find her background intriguing and the Russian FSB (ex-KGB) is following closely the case.
In Ulaan Baataar, Mungunshagai, the eldest son of Altantuya, who is 12 years old, is traumatised by the death of his mother. Altanshagai, the youngest, who is five years old and mentally handicapped, has not understood that he will never see again his mother. “He is asking for her all the time and is staying the whole day prostrated on his chair. Every evening, I bring him sweets and I tell him that his mother gave it to me for him”, says Shaaribuu Setev, the grandfather of the two boys. As for Baginda, he settled down in the United Kingdom with his family. He never uttered a word of regret on the deadly fate of the one who shared his life for two years.
Arnaud Dubus (in Kuala Lumpur, Ulaan Baataar and Paris) Arnaud did extensive research into this story and travelled the world in search of the truth.
This is the original cautioned statement – in Bahasa Malaysia- that Sirul Azhar Omar made in the interrogation by the police on 19 November 2006 that confirms not only how and why Altantuya was killed but also that they were hired to kill her:
The police statement above translated into english here
The murder case that will not go away:
In a brief Nutshell… spanning from 2006 to present .
Altantuya Shaariibuu; 6 May 1978 – 18 October 2006), a Mongolian national, was a murder victim who was killed first and her remains destroyed with C-4 on 18 October 2006 in a deserted area in Shah Alam, Malaysia near Kuala Lumpur.
Her murder case is significant and highly volatile in contemporary Malaysian politics due to the alleged involvement of persons close to Prime Minister Najib Razak who was the defence minister then and controversial allegations that it might even be linked to the PM.
It was alleged that she was actually introduced by Najib Razak (unproven) to Abdul Razak Baginda, a defence analyst from the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre think-tank, at an international diamond convention in Hong Kong, and had a relationship with him while accompanying Razak Baginda to Paris to work as a translator during his negotiations to purchase submarines from France for the Malaysian government.
As reported by the French newspaper Liberation, Altantuya found out that one of the parties involved in negotiations, Spanish company Armaris, paid out commissions of 114 million euros for the deal (reportedly one billion euros or RM4.7 billion for the purchase of three submarines).
The commission was credited in the accounts of a company controlled by Razak Baginda, Perimekar.
A letter written by Altantuya and found after her death admits that she had regretted attempting to blackmail Mr. Baginda, seeking a $US500,000 cut to remain silent about her knowledge of the deal.
After being jilted, she came to Malaysia vainly demanding payment. And lead to her demise under so very intriguing circumstances.
However, it was Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the Malaysia Today website editor, was the one who had connected Najib Razak with the Altantuya murder.
Missing person report
When it was realised Altantuya had gone missing on 19 October 2006, her cousin lodged a police report and sought help from the Mongolian embassy in Bangkok.
The Malaysian police found fragments of bone, later verified as her remains confirmed with a DNA test, in forested land near the Subang Dam in Puncak Alam, Shah Alam.
Police investigation of her remains revealed that she was shot twice before C-4 explosives were used .
The source of the C-4 remains unclear.
The two arrested murder suspects have been named as Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, and Corporal Sirul Umar.
They had been members of the elite Unit Tindakan Khas (the Malaysian Police Special Action Unit or counter-terrorism unit) and were both assigned to the office of the Prime Minister Najib Razak, as bodyguards, who was the Defence Minister at the time of the murder.
Abdul Razak Baginda was been charged with abetting the murder.
According to court testimony by Altantuya’s cousin Burmaa Oyunchimeg, Altantuya had shown Burmaa a photograph of 3 persons taking a meal together: Altantuyaa, Razak Baginda, and a government official. Burmaa identified the goverment official in the photo as then Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.,when he was questioned by Karpal Singh,lawyer for the Sharibu family.
On 31 October 2008, The High Court acquitted Abdul Razak Baginda of abetment in the murder of Altantuya, with the prosecution saying they would appeal the acquittal. To date, the appeal has yet to transpire.
Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar were ordered to enter their defence and testify under oath.
On 10 November 2008-It was announced that the murder trial has been postponed to January 2009 to allow the defence more time to prepare and gather witnesses.
The witnesses sought included Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin and private investigator P. Balasubramaniam,
whose whereabouts was unknown at that time.
On 3 February 2009- Sirul Azhar pleaded with the court to not pass the death sentence on him, as he was like “a black sheep that has to be sacrificed” to protect unnamed people who have never been brought to court or faced questioning.
“I have no reason to cause hurt, what’s more to take the life of the victim in such a cruel manner… I appeal to the court, which has the powers to determine if I live or die, not to sentence me so as to fulfil others’ plans for me.
Verdict, appeal and sentence
On 9 April 2009 ,
High Court Judge ruled that Sirul’s and Azilah’s statements were “unbelievable” as both accused only blamed each other.
Both were sentenced to death for the murder of Altantuya.
Wrapping up the 159-day trial, the judge said both of them failed to raise any reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case.
However, their lawyers planned to file an appeal.
Both policemen showed no emotion when they heard that they were sentenced to be hanged until dead.
Their family members accept the court’s decision and denied any political elements in the verdict.
The two policemen appealed their sentence in late August 2009.
The Court of Appeal has fixed a date for their appellate hearing for 10 June 2013
Attorney-General’s had decided not to appeal Abdul Razak Baginda’s acquittal in the murder of Shariibuu’s daughter Altantuya.
23 August 2013 –– Sirul and Azilah were acquitted on by the Court of Appeal.
Reasons given for the acquittal were- failure of the prosecution to provide a strong motive for the two men to murder the victim and the failure to call for the cross-examination of Najib’s aide Musa Safri and Najib Abdul Razak.
The acquittals have drawn the derision from many Malaysian.
Appeal over the acquittal
The prosecution immediately made an appeal to the Federal Court over the acquittal of the Azhar and Sirul which was heard on 23 June, 2014.
The Federal Court on 13 January, 2015 overturned the acquittal of both individuals, finding them both guilty of murder and sentenced both to death.
Sirul did not show up during the appeal hearing and was believed to be in Australia.
The current Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has made an extradition request to Australia calling for Sirul, but faces difficulty due to Australia’s policy of not extraditing individuals to countries to where they have been sentenced to face the death penalty .
Sirul was detained by Australian immigration authorities in Brisbane, Queensland on 20 January, 2015 after Interpol red notice was issued for his arrest.
Among the Controversies.and cast of Characters in this highly charged Murder intrigue.
Raja Petra later distanced himself from the statutory declaration in a television interview with TV3, saying its accusations linking Najib Razak and spouse Rosmah to the murder were repeating information passed onto him by opposition figures, rather than information he knew to be true himself.
He also stated that he did not genuinely believe that Rosmah was at the murder scene.
He also later clarified and pointed out that he had always been consistent in relation to the statutory declaration, saying that he had never directly accused Rosmah of being at the scene of the murder, merely repeating what was told to him.
Statutory declaration by P. Balasubramaniam(PI to Razak Baginda)
A second statutory declaration was filed on 1 July 2008 by Abdul Razak Baginda’s private investigator P Balasubramaniam, disclosing then deputy Prime Minister Najib’s links and Altantuya.
Bala said the police omitted information about the relationship between Najib and Altantuya during their investigation.
In the statutory declaration Abdul Razak had told Balasubramaniam that the deputy prime minister had a affair with Altantuya .
Former deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to look into the case.
However, the RCI has not been convened on this issue.
It has been claimed that Balasubramaniam’s allegation on the involvement of Najib Abdul Razak on the murders of Altantuya could have political motivations, as the press conference for the allegation was made at the national PKR Headquarters.
Retraction and disappearance
The following day Balasubramaniam made a retraction of the statutory declaration he made on 1 July 2008- in a second statutory declaration and its replacement with one that erased allegations with references to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Altantuya’s murder.
Accusations surfaced that this new statutory declaration could have been due to intimidation or inducement, and was done not on his own free will.
Malaysian police said on Sunday 6 July 2008 that they have asked Interpol to help find the private investigator who has been reported missing since making explosive claims linking the deputy premier to a murder.
It was discovered later that Balasubramaniam is said to have taken refuge in a neighbouring country with his family.
It is assumed that Bala was running away because he either received death threats or a massive bribe from Najib.
Reappearance and retraction of second statutory declaration
After his reappearance Bala claimed that he signed the second statutory declaration without even reading it, claiming he was threatened
Bala was also quoted that a member of Najib’s family, which was revealed to be Najib’s younger brother Nazim Abdul Razak teaming up with a Deepak Jaikishan, a businessman with connections to the Najib Abdul Razak’s family, made Bala withdraw his first statutory declaration and offered him RM5 million to do so, but that his first declaration was true.
Bala has continued to reiterate that the first statutory declaration he signed was the truth.
Bala has been actively campaigning for the Malaysian opposition giving talks on Najib and Rosmah’s alleged role in the death of Altantuyaa before his eventual death by heart attack on 15 March 2013.
Malaysian Indian businessman Deepak Jaikishan in the later part of 2012 held several press conferences regarding his role in the retraction of Balasubramaniam’s first statutory declaration and the supposed coercion in making Bala signed the second declaration.
He also made damning accusations against Prime Minister Najib Tun Abdul Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor, implying they were the ones giving instructions and had prior knowledge of coverup of the first statutory declaration.
He further revealed that it was the Prime Minister’s brother Nazim Abdul Razak who paid off Balasubramaniam.
In a biography launched on 19 March 2013, Rosmah Mansor denied any involvement with the murder of Altantuya, stating that she was attending a special session with the Islamic Orphans Welfare Association on the day in question, and describing the accusations against her as “slander”.
Sirul Azhar, the former police commando who was convicted for the murder of Altantuyaa, revealed during his detention in Australia that he was under orders to kill Altantuyaa and that the real murderers were still free.
He also mentioned that Najib’s aide-de camp Musa Safri and his superior should have been made to testify during the murder trial.
Sirul’s claims have been immediately rubbished by Najib and Inspector General of Police Khalid.
The opposition has asked Najib to explain why he was asserting that Sirul’s claims were “total rubbish”.
WikiLeaks and the Altantuya Murder
Cables show the US embassy in KL feared “prosecutorial misconduct” during the sensational 2009 trial
The US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur closely followed the trial of the accused killers of Mongolian interpreter Altantuya Shaariibuu and frequently discussed whether current Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was involved in the killing, according to diplomatic cables supplied to Asia Sentinel by the WikiLeaks website.
The diplomats, like much of the public, also speculated that the trial was being deliberately delayed and feared what one cable calls “prosecutorial misconduct” that was being politically manipulated. The embassy officials based their concerns on sources within the prosecution, government and the political opposition.
The cables also draw attention to an intriguing allegation that then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi may have attempted to use the proceedings to implicate Najib, a claim that was quickly hushed up in the Malaysian press.
Full article : asiasentinel./wikileaks-and-the-altantuya-murder/
But Of course there is Anwar Ibrahim not far behind smelling blood:
July 19 2011: (When Pak Lah was still PM)
A private legal deposition, revealed by Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on July 3, implicates Deputy Prime Minister Najib in the high-profile Altantuya murder case. The deposition, based primarily on statements reportedly made by Altantuya and murder defendant Razak Baginda, indicates that Najib had an affair with Altantuya, Altantuya assisted Najib in the controversial purchase of French submarines, and Najib attempted to intervene on Razak Baginda’s behalf at the time of his arrest.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
SUBJECT: ANWAR IMPLICATES DPM NAJIB IN MURDER CASE
- (C) A private investigator’s legal deposition, revealed by Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on July 3, implicates Deputy Prime Minister Najib in the high-profile Altantuya murder case.
The deposition, based primarily on statements reportedly made by Altantuya and murder defendant Razak Baginda, indicates that Najib had an affair with Altantuya, Altantuya assisted Najib in the controversial purchase of French submarines, and Najib attempted to intervene on Razak Baginda’s behalf at the time of his arrest.
The investigator claims that this information was suppressed by police and ignored by prosecutors.
Anwar’s revelation of this information comes as he launches a political offensive following recent sodomy allegations, which he believes were instigated by Najib. Meanwhile, Anwar and the Opposition coalition are set to begin a series of nationwide rallies, including a major gathering on July 6 near Kuala Lumpur.
The national police chief announced the military would join the police in tackling illegal assemblies in an emergency situation, a role the military last played during the 1969 politically-inspired race riots.
Najib and the government of Prime Minister Abdullah will need to respond, both to Anwar’s explosive revelations, but also to the Opposition leader’s political offensive, including plans to hold nationwide rallies.
On July 3, as the next step in his energized political offensive, former DPM and de facto opposition coalition leader Anwar Ibrahim released a statutory declaration (similar to a deposition in the U.S. system), made by private investigator P. Balasubramaniam on July 1,linking Deputy Prime Minister Najib to murder victim Altantuya Shaariibuu (ref e) and implicating Najib in efforts to subvert the investigation of the case.
(Najib’s advisor Razak Baginda and two members of Najib’s security detail are currently on trial for murder in this case.)
Anwar produced the explosive affidavit during a press conference on July 3, with Balasubramaniam standing by his sid
(SBU) Balasubramaniam bases his statement on conversations he had with Razak Baginda and with Altantuya; on events he witnessed acting as Razak Baginda’s investigator; and his experiences under arrest and in the courtroom at the opening stage of the murder trial. Among other things, the affidavit includes the following damaging allegations against Najib and others:
– Najib and Altantuya had an affair and that Najib introduced her to Baginda. (Note: Najib has repeatedly denied knowing Altantuya. )
– Najib, along with Razak Baginda, was with Altantuya in Paris in connection with the negotiations for the purchase of French submarines, and that Altantuya believed she was due $500,000 for her services.
– Najib asked Razak Baginda to take care of Altantuya, as Najib did not want Altantuya harassing him.
– Najib, in a text message, told Razak Baginda he would meet with Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan to resolve the issue of Razak Baginda’s impending arrest for murder.
– Police omitted the above information that Balasubramaniam provided during his seven-day interrogation regarding the murder, and that prosecutors never addressed any questions to him during his court appearance
Anwar stated it was evident the police and prosecution team, especially IGP Musa Hassan and Attorney General Abdul Gani manipulated the case to protect the DPM and hide any linkages of the DPM to Altantuya. He declared that the declaration further confirmed a clear and consistent pattern of manipulation of the criminal justice system since 1998.
Anwar continued by saying he is worried the IGP and AG will again manipulate evidence and statements during the probe into alleged sodomy charges against Anwar.
Anwar’s incendiary revelations follow a statutory declaration by controversial blogger Raja Petra in which he alleged that Najib’s wife, Rosmah, was present at scene of Altantuya’s murder.
In addition, on July 1 Anwar publicly accused Najib and Rosmah for being behind the current sodomy allegations against Anwar, which is now under police investigation.
Anwar and Najib have entered a very high stakes political game. The risks to both men are tremendous, and not limited to their political careers. Najib will be damaged by the latest serious allegations, coming on the heels of other statements implicating him and his wife in the murder, and the existing widespread public belief that the ongoing Altantuya murder trial has been the subject of political manipulation.
Najib and the government of Prime Minister Abdullah will need to respond, both to Anwar’s explosive revelations, but also to the Opposition leader’s political offensive, including plans to hold nationwide rallies.