Tuesday, 9 October 2012

No trial in France over purchase of submarines, says prosecutor

KUALA LUMPUR: A prominent French prosecutor has refuted reports circulating in some news portals of an ongoing trial in France over allegations of corruption involving the purchase of two submarines by Malay­sia.

“I am aware about all the fuss kicked up by certain media (organisations) in Malaysia over this matter, but what I can say is that this is nothing more than a trial by the media,” said Yves Charpenel, former head of prosecution in France, now a state prosecutor and an executive member of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA).

He was here to attend the four-day IAACA conference and general meeting which ended on Sunday.

Following a complaint filed in 2009 by Suaram that a French company had allegedly paid bribes to a Malaysian firm for the purchase of two Scorpene submarines in 2002, he said that two independent “investigating judges” started their investigations earlier this year.

Charpenel said it was anybody’s right to file a complaint and due to the secret nature of the investigations, some resorted to complaining to the media.

He explained that for specific cases in France, the Justice Ministry would ask an independent judge, called an “investigating judge”, to investigate.

“He is just an investigator. This is an old system that started from the Napoleonic era.

“If the investigating judge wants someone to come to Malaysia, he has to ask your Government because we have what is called the Treaty of Mutual Legal Assistance.

“A French investigating judge cannot take his luggage, take a plane and go to Malaysia and ask someone to answer his questions. It is impossible, it is against French law and it is also against international law,” stressed Charpenel.

Asked about media reports that French lawyers representing Suaram in the suit would be coming to Malaysia to brief their clients, Charpenel said any lawyer from any country was free to do so because he was paid by his clients.

“He can speak freely to the press, that’s freedom or human rights. But he is not a prosecutor. He is not an investigating judge. He is not an official.”

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also said over the weekend that the Auditor-General had declared the Scorpene deal was done in accordance with legal procedures.
Source : TheStar


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