For the first time since the 2007 trial into the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu, her father has revealed that he has "definitely seen a photograph" of his daughter taken with Najib Abdul Razak, who is now prime minister.
At a meeting with human rights NGO Suaram yesterday, Shaariibuu said Altantuya had shown him a photograph of her taken with two men - who he later came to know as Najib and his close ally Abdul Razak Baginda.
Shaariibuu said through his interpreter that Altantuya had told him before she left for Malaysia in October 2006 that she would be meeting Razak for payment promised to her for translating work done for "certain companies".
Razak had been charged with abetting in the murder of Altantuya, believed to be his jilted lover, but was acquitted without his defence being called.
The two police personnel charged with the murder were found guilty and sentenced to death. Their appeal is pending.
"I was not the only one who saw it... So did Burmaa Oyunchimeg, who was a witness and told the court about the matter during the murder trial ... in 2007," Shaariibuu said.
"When she showed me the picture, Burmaa was there too and my daughter told us she wanted to go to Malaysia to get her money."
Shaariibuu described the photo of the three people, "which I saw with my own eyes", as one that was taken in a cafe or restaurant setting in Paris as French words could be seen in the background.
He later saw a similar picture being circulated on the Internet, but realised that the faces of those in it had been somewhat "doctored".
He was then told that it was a "fake" photograph and was posted in a blog by PKR vice-president Tian Chua, who had been incessantly criticised by the BN parliamentarians for his "art" but that the Batu MP has refused to apologise for it.
Chua was referring to Burmaa'stestimony on the existence of the photograph, a matter that the prosecution did not pursue. The photograph was not produced in court.
Najib's press secretary Tengku Sarifuddin Tengku Ahmad had at that time conveyed the prime minister's response to the photo.
He reiterated that Najib had on several occasions, when asked by the media, said he had never met or known Altantuya and was not involved in the case involving Razak.
Altantuya was 'promised a commission'
Shaariibuu also told the meeting with Suaram that Altantuya could not recall the names of the companies involved in her translation work, but had told him that Razak promised her a commission of between "0.0003 percent and 3 percent " for each of her projects.
However, Shaariibuu said he was uncertain whether the commission was in US dollars or in Euro, but said it was "a huge" amount.
"Later, I heard that the payment was in US dollars. I have told this to lawyer Karpal Singh and we worked out the amount to be about RM100 million," he had told the Suaram activists, including its director Cynthia Gabriel.
Shaariibuu has filed an RM100 million civil suitagainst the government, Razak and the two police personnel for the sufferings he and his family continue to suffer, as a result of her untimely death.
Following Razak's acquittal, Suaram filed a case against French shipbuilder DCNS for allegedly paying kickbacks, involving millions of ringgit, to top Malaysian government officials for the purchase of the two Scorpene submarines.
The payment of commissions for business dealings is illegal in France and two investigating magistrates - Roger Le Loire and Serge Tournaire - have been appointed to investigate the matter, which will be heard by the Paris Tribunal de Grande, which handles alleged corruption cases.
It is learnt that the magistrate will be looking into contracts worth at least 36 million Euro (RM144 million) and 114 million Euro (RM457 million) involving two companies - Hong Kong-based Terarasi Ltd and Perimekar Bhd - which are allegedly linked to Razak.
In 2007, the Defence Ministry denied that commissions were paid to Perimekar, whose key shareholder then was Razak's wife, Mazlina Makhzan.
It is not certain whether Najib and Razak will testify in the French courts if summoned as witnesses. However, Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said that he is willing to testify.