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French lawyer in Malaysia to aid submarine graft probe

AFP  |  Kuala Lumpur 

A French probing a controversial submarine deal linked to Malaysia's ousted was Tuesday set to meet officials to aid investigations into the scandal.

William Bourdon, who represents group over the French submarine deal, was deported from on his last visit in 2011 when Najib's scandal-mired regime was still in power.

But after a historic change of government last year, he returned to the country to help a new investigation into the case.

purchased two French-made Scorpene submarines for $1.2 billion in 2002 while was

The French -- then called DCNS -- is alleged to have paid more than 114 million euros (USD 128 million) in kickbacks to a shell company linked to Abdul Baginda, a close associate who brokered the deal.

Baginda's Mongolian mistress Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was said to have demanded a cut for translating during negotiations, was shot dead and her body blown up with military-grade plastic explosives near in 2006.

The case sank off the radar after a in 2008 cleared of abetting the murder, sparking allegations of a huge cover-up to protect Najib.

Bourdon was set to meet with Malaysian on Tuesday to discuss the case, and anti-corruption officials.

"This is a complex case, you can imagine that they will like from us to update (them about) the proceedings in France," he told a press conference. "Of course we will answer the questions as far as we can."

A French investigation was launched in 2010 after complaints from Suaram, and has already led to four French executives involved in the deal and being charged. They all deny wrongdoing.

Najib was questioned by anti-graft officials over the case in November after Malaysia's new government took office and reopened investigations into the submarine deal.

The former premier, who is also embroiled in a separate scandal over the alleged looting of state fund 1MDB, denies any wrongdoing.

Najib's long-ruling coalition was voted out of power in May in large part due to the 1MDB scandal. The ex-has been arrested over the controversy and is due to stand trial.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 12 2019. 15:25 IST