France Drops Some Graft Charges Against Razak Baginda in Scorpene Case

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France has dropped some of the charges against Abdul Razak Baginda over alleged kickbacks paid on the Scorpene submarine deal.

Razak Baginda was an adviser to former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak when he was defence minister between 2000 and 2008.

He advised Najib on a deal worth some €1 billion (RM4.66 billion) involving the purchase of two Scorpene-class submarines and one Agosta-class submarine from French naval dockyards unit DCN, which is linked to French defence group Thales.

In 2010, an investigation revealed that Terasasi, a firm whose main shareholder was Razak Baginda, received an equivalent sum for what was billed as consultancy work.

It was alleged that such an exchange was a front for kickbacks.

Razak Baginda was charged in France in July 2017 with “active and passive complicity in corruption” and “misappropriation of corporate assets.”

According to a report by AFP, judicial sources now said the Paris appeal court had dropped the charges of “passive corruption,” while retaining the remainder of the charge sheet against him.

The sources added that Razak Baginda’s lawyer Caroline Toby has indicated she will file a further appeal.

Four French defence industry executives have been charged in the case.

They are two former chairpersons of DCNI, Philippe Japiot and Dominique Castellan, and two former heads of Thales International Asia, Bernard Baiocco and Jean-Paul Perrier.

All four men denied the charges and say they did not have direct contact with Baginda.

French investigators are also following up on claims that payment of €114 million was made to Perimekar, a Malaysia-based company, which was allegedly controlled by Razak Baginda’s wife at the time. – Malaysiakini