The 2009 article written by French man Arnaud Dubus in Liberation, a French left of centre daily newspaper published in France investigated a submarine deal between France and Malaysia linked to then Malaysian Deputy Prime Minster Najib Razak. An affair between an aide to Razak and a Mongolian interpreter is highlighted in the article. There is also a shocking account of the woman’s murder at the hands of elite Malaysian special police officers in 2006 after she allegedly demanded a share of the commission paid as a result of the French Malaysian submarine transaction.

A French diplomat who died on Monday in a suspected suicide at a Bangkok BTS terminal was a well loved expat who had lived in Thailand for over 30 years. He was also, up to October 2018, a well known journalist being the regular correspondent for RFI or Radio France Internationale in Thailand and Southeast Asia. A book author and investigative journalist, he published a compelling exposé in 2009 detailing the horrific murder of  a Mongolian woman and mother at the hands of elite Malaysian police officers. The men were subsequently convicted but Arnaud Dubus revealed links to corruption and the former Malaysian Prime Minster Najib Razak currently on trial facing seven charges of abuse of power and money laundering in Kuala Lumpur.

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The shocking death of a French diplomat and veteran expat resident in Thailand, Arnaud Dubus (right), has shocked many of his colleagues who acknowledge that he was an unrivaled expert on Thailand who spoke the language fluently and with a refined accent. The French man was the long time correspondent for RFI (Radio Francaise Internationale) in Thailand until 2018 when he went to work as a communications officer and diplomat at the French Embassy in Bangkok. He also worked with French daily newspaper Liberation as an investigative journalist.We look at his 2009 exposé of the murder of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu (bottom left) in Kuala Lumpur in 2006 in which he shed light on the murky and corrupt world at the top of Malaysian politics prior to the May 2018 election. The 2009 investigative journalism piece linked the Mongolian woman to former Prime Minster Najib Razak now on trial in Kuala Lumpur on abuse of power and money laundering charges. Earlier this year, the former Malaysian premier denied any involvement in the affair saying is was ‘slander’ and ‘lies’ and that he had never met the woman. One of the convicted Malaysian police men, Sirul Azhar Umar (bottom right), fled Malaysia for Australia in 2014 and sought political asylum there. He has promised the full story if granted his freedom and has claimed that he was simply carrying out orders.

A French diplomat and former investigative reporter who had lived in Bangkok for the last thirty years is reported to have been killed after a fall from a BTS terminal in Bangkok on Monday in, as yet, unresolved circumstances. Arnaud Dubus who was a former, long serving correspondent for RFI in Thailand and Deputy Chief Communications Officer at the French Embassy in Bangkok since October 2018. He is believed to have thrown himself off the Taksin BTS or Skytrain terminal in the Yannawa area of Bangkok on Monday last, the 29th April in an apparent suicide.

Death of French diplomat occurred at 4 pm after he arrived by motorcycle taxi at the BTS terminal

The man was formally identified by the Bangkok Metropolitan Police as 56 year old Jean Claude Arnaud Dubus. Police Lieutenant Colonel Insorn Udtip who is the chief investigator at the Yannawa Royal Thai Police Station gave details to the press. He confirmed that the the incident happened at 4 pm on Monday last. Thai police were able to identify the veteran French expat and diplomat from identification documents contained on his body including his passport. CCTV footage retrieved by police show the diplomat arriving at the BTS terminal on the back of a motorcycle taxi shortly before the event transpired.

Thai police extended an invitation to diplomats at the French Embassy in Bangkok to attend the scene of the fall. Thai police are actively investigating the death which shocked many onlookers.

French expat and journalist was an expert on Thailand and spoke Thai fluently

The French man was an acknowledged expert on Thailand. He had written several books on the kingdom. As a correspondent for RFI (Radio France Internationale), he arrived in Thailand in 1988 and spent over 30 years as an investigative journalist working on stories within the kingdom and other Southeast Asian nations such as Malaysia,  Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Burma and Laos. He gave up his career in journalism only last October to become a diplomat at the French embassy taking on a communications role.

Tributes to the French man from colleagues in the media worldwide, in France and Bangkok

Tributes have been flowing in to the French man from among his media colleagues in Bangkok and France. It is reported that the Arnaud spoke perfect Thai and that he spoke the language in very refined style which impressed many Thais. He could also read the language perfectly. The French man was very popular with colleagues and had a long list of expat friends as well as an even larger number of Thai friends. The diplomat’s calm and polite manner as well as his capacity for humor and laughter endeared him to all the Thais who came to know him over the past 30 years.

Arnaud Dubus had written many well received books on Thailand over the years

Arnaud Dubus had written a number well received books on Thailand which dealt with Thai history, society and culture. The success of the the French man was his capacity to examine situations in depth almost like an academic while also being able to write about his knowledge for the wider public as a journalist. His latest work critically examined Buddhism in Thailand and a growing trend to mix Buddhism with politics which has fueled extreme nationalism in other countries. Some esteemed Thai monks have also warned about the potential dangers trend.

As well as working at the correspondent for RFI for thirty years, the French man also worked closely as an investigative reporter with the French daily newspaper Liberation, a groundbreaking and progressive left of centre publication in Paris.

2009 investigative story for Liberation, the French daily, on the murder of a Mongolian woman linked to a Malaysian government scandal is today quite topical

In 2009, the French man was involved in the sensational publication of a suppressed police report which detailed the murder of a Mongolian woman, a former model and interpreter, by Malaysian police. The killing was suspected of being linked to an aide to then Deputy Prime Minsiter, Najib Razak who later became Prime Minister of Malaysia. The former Prime Minister was arrested last year and is now facing trial for corruption and money laundering in Kuala Lumpur. The shocking story tells how the Mongolian woman was brutally murdered by elite Malaysian police and that the former Malaysian Prime Minister assisted his aide prior to his arrest.

Account of murder in Kuala Lumpur in 2006

The 2009 article in Liberation, penned by Arnaud Dubus, put on record a ‘dry and precise’ account of how the Mongolian woman died. Altantuya Shaariibuu was mistakenly referred to as the ‘Chinese woman’ in the police document produced from interviews with the two Malaysian police killers under caution after their arrest.

Two Malaysian elite police officers subsequently convicted of brutal murder in 2009

The Malaysian police officers Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar were subsequently convicted of the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu who worked as an interpreter for Malaysian government officials involved in a $1 billion submarine purchase in 2005 between France and Malaysia. The deal was linked with French – Spanish company Armaris which was selling three submarines to Malaysia. Altantuya Shaariibuu later went on to have an affair and intimate personal relationship with Abdul Razak Baginda who worked as a close aide to then Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Razak. It was reported that Baginda was involved with a company called Perimekar which was to receive a substantial commission when the sale of the submarines went through.

Ex Malaysian Prime Minister this year denied any links to the affair as ‘slander’ and ‘lies’

The two lovers were reported to have traveled to France in 2005 for talks in connection with the deal staying at sumptuous hotels and eating at the best restaurants while travelling in Baginda’s Ferrari car. It has even been reported that the couple met and were pictured at a private club in Paris during this trip with the then Deputy Prime Minister. In the Liberation article, Arnaud Dubus suggested that a photograph of this meeting, at the end of March 2005, exists. Earlier this year, the former Prime Minister, Najib Razak, strongly denied any link or involvement with the affair. ‘That is slander. Lies. I never met her,’ he told a news outlet in Malaysia. His trial is currently ongoing in Kuala Lumpur where he is facing 7 charges including corruption, abuse of power and money laundering.

Arnaud Dubus had spent weeks working on the 2009 story exposing the killing

The 2009 Liberation article written by Arnaud Dubus who died this week, explored the details of the murder of the Mongolian interpreter which occurred in October 2006. In a 2009 interview, he confirmed that he had spent weeks researching the story including trips to Mongolia and to Paris to follow up on aspects of it.

Mongolian woman demanded her share of the commission from Malaysian government aide involved in French submarines deal

It appears that Mongolian woman’s affair with Abdul Razak Baginda had ended by 2006. That year, Altantuya Shaariibuu got wind that the commission payment of $115 million in commission from the firm involved with the sale of the submarines to Malaysia had landed in her former lover’s bank account in 2006. She demanded $500,000, a claim rejected not only be the former aide to the Deputy Prime Minister but also his wife, a powerful Malaysian business woman.

It appears that the Mongolian woman left Mongolia hurriedly from Kuala Lumpur in a fighting mood to follow up on her claim. She was reported to have been accompanied by a Mongolian Shaman who is thought to have threatened to curse Abdul Razak Baginda if he failed to pay over her promised share of the commission.

Standoff outside home of aide to former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2006

There followed a stand off between Altantuya Shaariibuu and her powerful ex lover. This took place directly outside his home in Kuala Lumpur over a number of mornings. Finally, in desperation, an order was given by to ‘neutralise the Chinese woman’ at the behest of persons unknown. Two Malaysian special forces policeman were ordered to a carry out the act. It is not known or has never been confirmed who gave the order.

Aide charged with abetting murder by Malaysian police but case was dismissed

After the murder of the woman in 2006, Abdul Razak Baginda was charged with abetting the crime but subsequently set free by the High Court in Malaysia on the basis that there was no prima facie case against him. He never gave evidence.

Case taken by Mongolia woman’s family against parties still before the courts in Malaysia

In August 2017, another Malaysian court, the Shah Alam High Court dismissed a case filed against him by the family of Altantuya Shaariibuu which also included the two police men and the Malaysian government as defendants. This decision was subsequently overturned in March 2018 and the matter is still before the Malaysian courts. After being acquitted of involvement of the murder and spending some time in prison, Mr Baginda subsequently went back to further his education and later received a degree from Oxford University.

Waiting taxi driver exposed a possible state crime

The two police men were reported to have links to protection details afforded to high ranking officials in Malaysia. They kidnapped Altantuya Shaariibuu from in front of her former lover’s home. However, a waiting taxi driver who had not been paid his fare, took note of the car that the woman was taken away in and reported it to the police as a suspected kidnapping.

Mongolian woman was brutally murdered by elite police officers as she begged for mercy

The demise of the Mongolian woman quickly unfolded. Taken to jungle area near Kuala Lumpur, she begged for her life pointing out that she was a mother with children. There was no mercy. She was shot in the left hand side of the face. The two police officers, now convicted of her murder, removed her clothes and placed them in a plastic bag. The woman’s hands were seen to be moving and she was shot again. The police men then affixed explosives and detonators to the women’s body at various parts including her abdomen and head. They blew her up within the jungle.

Suggestion that former Malaysian PM warned his aide not to panic prior to his arrest

After the murder, the police officers were arrested by Malaysian police investigating the complaint reported by the taxi driver. Police also detained Abdul Razak Baginda. However before his arrest, Arnaud Dubus in his article claimed that he was warned by the then Deputy Prime Minister in an SMS message not to panic. ‘I will see the inspector general of police at 11am today… The problem will be solved. Be cool’.

Groundbreaking article by French man highlighted the corruption at the top of Malaysian politics that resulted in shock 2018 election outcome

Arnaud Dubus’s groundbreaking article in 2009 reveals a murky and corrupt world at the top of Malaysian politics that existed for well over a decade. This is thought to be behind the May 2018 general election shock in Malaysia which many see as akin to a revolution and which unseated the then Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was seen by the public to be mired in scandal. It saw veteran Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad return to politics from retirement to assume power. On July 2nd 2018, the former Prime Minister Najib Razak, a party to the investigative story published by Arnaud Dubus in 2009, was arrested by Malaysia’s Anti Corruption Commission.

Malaysian police man who fled to Australia promises a full exposé if granted his freedom. He has claimed it was a state execution and political act

The two police men Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri were subsequently convicted of the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu and sentenced to death. Sirul Azhar Umar fled Malaysia for Australia in 2014 and sought political asylum there. He has since claimed that he was merely acting on orders when he participated in the woman’s execution. In February this year, a Sydney court in Australia rejected his asylum application leaving him facing deportation back to Malaysia. However, it is thought that the fact that the Malaysia has sentenced him to death may be an insurmountable impediment to any deportation moves. The former Malaysian police force corporal has offered to tell the full story of the affair if Malaysian authorities will offer him his freedom. He has, in his asylum pleadings, described the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu as a state ordered killing and therefore a political act.

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