Report: French defence group Thales charged over 2002 submarines deal with Malaysia

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French multinational company Thales that designs and builds electrical systems and provides services for the aerospace, defence, transportation and security markets has been charged with complicity in bribery over a 2002 sale of submarines to Malaysia.

Citing sources close to the inquiry, AFP reported on Tuesday (April 26) that the long-running case investigating alleged kickbacks was opened in 2010 and eventually caught up with former Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.


Najib was the defence minister when the deal was signed to buy two Scorpene-class submarines and one Agosta submarine from French naval dockyard unit DCN, now part of Thales, in a deal worth US$1.2 billion.

Najib’s close associate Abdul Razak Baginda allegedly acted as an adviser on the deal, and was accused of disguising the kickback of more than €114 million as “consulting work” by a firm in which he was the largest shareholder.

The money was then said to have been given to Najib, who has faced a series of graft cases since he was voted out as Malaysia’s prime minister in 2018.

Razak Baginda was charged in France in 2017, while Najib has been questioned by Malaysian anti-graft investigators.

AFP said that in total nine defendants, including Thales, have been charged in France and the investigations were closed in January 2022.

Thales told AFP it strongly contests these allegations. – The Edge