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Thursday, July 20, 2017

More indictments to come in Scorpene case, say NGOs

More French indictments are expected over alleged kickbacks from the 2002 sale of two Scorpene-class submarines to Malaysia, claim NGOs Suaram and C4.
"We understand from our French lawyers that several more indictments are expected, before the probe wraps up and is brought before an open court," Suaram director Sevan Doraisamy and C4 director Cynthia Gabriel said in a joint statement today.
Indictments under French law are not the same as indictments or charges as understood in American or British common law.
France has a two-tiered court system, and according to Gabriel, the Scorpene case is at the first stage, where an examining magistrate is probing the case.
Once the probe is completed, the examining magistrate can then recommend prosecution for those indicted in the case.
A prosecution will see the case transferred from the examining magistrate to an open court where a trial will commence.
Yesterday, it was reported that two former French top executives had been indicted for corruption.
Agence France-Presse(AFP) reported that the two are Phillippe Japiot, former chairperson of French naval dockyards unit DCNI and Jean-Paul Perrier, former chief executive of the French defence and electronics giant Thales.
It also reported that one of the sources said Japiot has also been indicted for “abuse of social assets” and Perrier for “complicity in the abuse of social assets".
Two others, former president of Thales' Asian Division Bernard Baiocco and former DCNI president Dominique Castellan had also been indicted previously.
Suaram and C4 have urged attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali to reopen the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's probe on the Scorpene scandal.
They also want Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak - who was defence minister at the time of the deal - to explain the transaction that occurred to Parliament.

The duo added that a royal commission of inquiry should also be opened on the matter.
The French probe into the Scorpene deal was launched in 2010, after a complaint was filed by Suaram in France in November 2009.
The investigation was to determine if a former president of the French defence group, Thales International Asia, had paid kickbacks to Najib via his former close associate, Abdul Razak Baginda, for a contract to supply two Scorpene submarines to Malaysia. -Mkini

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