PETALING JAYA: Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda (pic) says that while he was paid €30mil to consult on the Scorpene submarine deal in 2002, none of the money was used to bribe officials.
Abdul Razak told the Financial Times that he was paid the sum to consult on the French deal, lobby for it and oversee the eight years of its execution.
“It was a legitimate agreement. I did my job and I got paid for it,” he said.
“And I never paid any official,” said Abdul Razak, who is accused of being the middleman in the US$1.2bil deal.
Abdul Razak, who is now the director of British-based charity Islamic Peace Foundation, added that he had never been a paid adviser to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was defence minister at the time.
He said he had written speeches for Najib and accompanied him on foreign trips, but had “rarely” talked to him about the submarine deal “over a cup of tea”.
Abdul Razak was responding to the indictment of Thales International Asia former president Bernard Baiocco last December for “active bribery of foreign public officials linked to Najib Razak”.
The London-based newspaper also reported that the Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed that Baiocco is under formal investigation "on suspicion of bribery of foreign public officials” and “complicity in misuse of corporate assets”.
The inquiry relates to the sale of two Scorpene-class attack submarines from a joint venture between Thales and defence company DCN, now called DCNS.
The publication also reported that French prosecutors are investigating allegations of wrongdoing against Najib in the submarine deal.
Baiocco’s lawyer Jean-Yves Le Borgne said his client admits the money was paid to Abdul Razak for lobbying but accused prosecutors of attempting “judicial acrobatics” in trying to prove the cash found its way to Najib or any government official.
“There was no corruption. The money paid by my client’s company to Mr Baginda was for lobbying,” said Le Borgne.
“They (the prosecutors) suspect the minister received some money but they have never had anything to prove that.”
The Financial Times quoted a Malaysian Government spokesman as dismissing the allegations against Najib as “baseless smears for political gain”.
The spokesman added that the Prime Minister had not benefited from any payment linked to the contract.
There had also never been any communication from the French judiciary to Najib, he said.
“There is absolutely no evidence of any wrongdoing and there never will be,” he said.