Maltese Company Named in Malaysian Scorpene Submarines Scandal

7 June 2012
French prosecutors investigating the biggest French arms sales to Malaysia involving two submarines and a second-hand ship costing a billion euro have discovered that a company called ‘Gifen’ based in Malta played an important part together with other companies based in Luxembourg, Belgium and Hong Kong in funneling millions of euros paid to companies run by friends of the present Prime Minister of Malaysia Razak Najib. Najib was the Minister of Defence of Malaysia who signed the deal in 2002.

Gifen was set up in Malta by Jean-Marie Bouvin who has been also heavily involved in other shady deals of sales by the French state company DCN of submarines to Pakistan and frigates to Taiwan.

French prosecutors discovered the company Gifen registered in Malta by Peralta Custodian Limited after they looked into bank vaults and scrutinized contracts, memoranda of understanding (MOU), memoranda of intent (MOI), invoices and bank accounts of various people including Abdul Razak Baginda, a very close friend of Prime Minister Najib. They have also looked at internal confidential reports of DCN and the French Ministry of Defence.

They have interviewed officials in the French state company, DCN and related companies such as Thales as well as officials in the French ministry of defence.

Bouvin set up Gifen and other similar companies in other countries to bypass anti corruption laws and conventions signed by France in 2000.

Before that year French companies used to bribe foreign politicians and government officials to win contracts and the sums paid were deducted from their taxes. Companies owned by friends of the present Malaysian Prime Minister were paid €114 million for services rendered to secure the contract.

But since after the year 2000 such payments became punishable by prison and fines, French companies created fictitious companies like Gifen to conceal the money paid in bribes to politicians and officials to win contracts.

These companies were referred to as “service providers”. The method used was to create “service providers” that could “increase invoices” in order to take the place of commissions.

The French investigation shows that a commercial engineering contract was then signed between DCNI and Thales (also involved in the submarine and ship sales to Malaysia), referred to as “C5”.

The “C5? contract covered €30 million paid in commercial costs overseas. The companies used to cover these costs were “Gifen in Malta, Eurolux in Luxemburg and Technomar in Belgium”.

The travel expenses of Baginda and Altantuya Shaariibuu were covered by money provided by Gifen and the other two companies. Shaariibuu was murdered in 2006 after she threatened to spill all the beans on the billion euro submarine deal when a €500,000 commission promised to her was not paid.

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