Friday, March 6, 2009

Guessing on Who Ordered Altantuya Killed.

It came pretty shocking when late last night, an article by the French paper The Liberation released a sensational story on the alleged assassins of Altantuya. The mystery, in Asia can be compared to the infamous Black Dahlia murder in Los Angeles in 1947. The article at this time, is still not online on its site, but the English translation has been circulating around the net, a few hours it was first hit out.

It reads as:

Shaaribuu Setev is a bitter and disappointed man. Yet, behind the saddened face of this Mongolian lies a fierce determination. Seated in a sofa in the lobby of an Ulaan Baataar hotel rattled by gushes of a freezing wind, this sixty years old man is ready to fight. His face features, hardened by the suffering and the stern climate, and his intense gaze tell all. “My daughter has been murdered by Malaysians on Malaysian territory. And they did not have even offer a word of apology,” states this professor of psychology at the National University of Mongolia.

The assassination of his daughter, Altantuya Shaaribuu, took place in October 2006. This was a murder unlike others in a region where business conflicts or petty politics are often settled with a gun. Everything in this case, which started in 2002 when the French Spanish company Armaris concluded the sale of three submarines to the Malaysian government for the amount of one billion Euros, is out of the ordinary.

The impact of the “Altantuya case” in France, Malaysia and Mongolia has yet to reach its climax. The murder of the 28 year old Mongolian was the result of a “commission” at the price of 114 million Euros by Armaris to its Malaysian counterpart. This “commission,” which was acknowledged by the Malaysian government in front of the Parliament in Kuala Lumpur, has triggered a chain of events that has led to the assassination of Altantuya and the disappearance of several key witnesses in the case.

A report from the Malaysian police, written on 19th november 2006 and which has been kept secret until now (can be read below), reveals dry and precise descriptions as to how this young woman, a member of Asian high society, has been killed. In this document, one of the killers, a policeman of the Malaysian Special Branch named Sirul Omar, replied to the questions of an officer at a police station close to the murder scene. “When the Chinese woman saw that I was taking a gun, she begged me to spare her, saying she was pregnant. Azilah (the commanding officer of Sirul) grabbed her and [threw] her on the ground. I immediately shot the left side of her face. Then Azilah took off her clothes and put them in a black plastic bag. Azilah noticed that her hand was still moving. He ordered me to shoot again, which I did”, said Sirul. This is the first confirmation of Altantuya’s assassins’ identity. “Then we carried her body into the woods. Azilah wrapped the explosives around her legs, her abdomen and her head, and we exploded her.”

The revelation of this report in the French newspaper Liberation is the latest chapter in this colourful and dramatic saga featuring French weapon sellers, Mongolian Shaman, and Malaysian politicians. This case is explosive not only for the Malaysian government, since the deputy Prime minister Najib Razak (who is scheduled to become Prime minister at the end of March) is suspected of having links to the case, but also because it could embarrass the DCNS, this French company specialising in military shipbuilding. The French Spanish company Armaris, which sold two Scorpène and one Agosta submarines to Malaysia in June 2002, was bought by DCNS in 2007.

With her magnetic beauty and sophistication, Altantuya is reminiscent of the troubling image of a Far East Mata Hari. She grew up in Saint Petersburg (Russia), then studied at the Institute of Economic Management in Beijing. Besides speaking English, she is fluent in Russian, Chinese and Korean. The fateful cycle for Altantuya came into gear when she met Abdul Razak Baginda in Hong Kong in 2004. Baginda is a security expert and the director of the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre, a pro-government think-tank. The two quickly became romantically involved. Altantuya, nicknamed Tuya by her friends, proved to be a useful assistant, helping Baginda translate from Russian to English.

Whereas Altantuya is young and beautiful, the rich and alluring Baginda is a well known figure of the Kuala Lumpur’s elite, notably because of his proximity to the Malaysian Deputy Prime minister and minister of Defense Najib Razak (he is also his security affairs adviser). Baginda parades in the most exclusive circles of Kuala Lumpur, sometimes accompanied by his legitimate wife.

In March 2005, Altantuya and Baginda departed for Europe, touring France, Germany, Italy and Portugal in the red Ferrari of Baginda, staying in posh hotels and dining in the finest restaurants of the old Continent. This trip, however, was not only for tourism: the contract for the sale of the submarines had been signed in 2002, but important details had yet to be settled. “We knew that Baginda was used by Deputy Prime minister Najib Razak as an intermediary for weapons systems deals, especially the high level ones,” says a regional security affairs expert.

At the end of March 2005 the couple was in Paris, where they met with Najib Razak. A picture shows the threesome in a Parisian private club. “Tuya showed me the pix. She said that one of the men was her boyfriend, Abdul Razak Baginda, and the other the “big boss”, Najib Razak. I asked her if they were brothers because of the names, but she said no, and that Najib Razak was the ‘prime minister’”, said Amy, Altantuya’s best friend (Najib Razak has sworn on the Koran that he has never met Altantuya). According to a private detective, now in hiding in India, the beautiful Tuya was also the occasional mistress of the deputy Prime minister, who was introduced to her by Baginda at the end of 2004.

The story became dramatic when, in October 2006, Altantuya was informed that the commission paid by the French-Spanish company Armaris had arrived on a Kuala Lumpur bank account. It had been paid to Perimekar, a company owned by Baginda. Altantuya rushed to Kuala Lumpur, in order to claim her share of the commission from Baginda ; she said she was entitled to 500,000 dollars. Baginda and Altantuya broke up prior to this. A jealous Rosmah Mansor, the feared businesswoman and wife of Najib Razak, objected any payment to Altantuya. Altantuya arrived in Kuala Lumpur with two other Mongolian women, one of them was a Shaman responsible for putting a spell on Baginda if he refused to pay. For several days, Altantuya harassed her ex-lover.

On the 18th of October, Baginda could no longer tolerate the daily scenes made by Altantuya in front of his house. He contacted the Director of the Special Branch, Musa Safrie, who happened to also be Najib Razak’s aide de camp. On October 19th, 2006, a little before 9 pm, two police officers of the Special Branch, Azilah Hadridan and Sirul Omar, were sent in front of Baginda’s house where Altantuya was gesticulating and shouting. They had the order of “neutralising the Chinese woman.” They kidnapped her, and drove her ten kilometers away and shot her several times. Then, they destroyed her body with C4 explosives, a type which can only be obtained from within the Defense Ministry. Her entry into Malaysia was erased from the immigration records. It would appear that Altantuya had never come to Malaysia, because there is no trace left of her.

There is no perfect crime. The taxi driver hired by Altantuya for the day did not appreciate that his passenger was kidnapped under his eyes without payment for the fare. He took note of the registration plate of the kidnapper’s car and filed a complaint at the local police station. In a few days, the police identified the car and realised that it was a government vehicle.

Events unfolded that even the Deputy Prime minister Najib Razak could not impede. He tried to cover the case. A few hours before the arrest of Baginda, he sent him a SMS: “I will see the Inspector General of Police at 11 am today… The problem will be solved. Be cool”. A few hours after, Baginda was arrested as well as the two police officers of the Special Branch, Azilah and Sirul.

After a trial considered dubious by many observers, Baginda was acquitted with the accusation of having ordered the murder and released in November 2008. Accused of having perpetrated the murder, Azilah and Sirul appeared in front of the Court last month. If convicted, their sentence is death. The verdict is scheduled for the 9th of April.

Thousands of miles from there, in the Mongolian capital city Ulaan Baataar, Shaaribuu Setev, Altantuya’s father, is trying to control his anger. To him and his family, the acquittal and release of Baginda is symbolic of the unfairness of the Malaysian judicial process: “The Malaysian government is not even answering to the letters from the Mongolian Foreign Affairs Ministry,” he says.

When Shaaribuu came to the Malaysian Parliament to meet Najib Razak, the Deputy Prime minister had to escape through a back door in order to avoid an embarrassing encounter. The Altantuya case has become a key element of the Malaysian political game between Najib Razak (who is expected to become Prime Minister after the United Malay Nation Organisation (UMNO) Congress in March) and the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. So far, Najib Razak has navigated around the obstacles, but the murder of the young Mongolian remains a sword suspended over his head.

One of the most obscure aspects of the Altantuya case is the role of the Armaris company. In October 2007, the Malaysian Deputy Defense minister, Zainal Abdidin Zin, acknowledged in front of the Parliament that Armaris had effectively paid 114 million Euros in commission to Perimekar. He maintained that it was not a bribe, but a payment for “support and coordination services.”

Was there corruption as in the case of the Taiwanese frigates in which the French DCNS was also implicated? DCNS, a private company with public financing, has declined our request for a meeting. “Nobody can comment on this case,” was the sober reply of the DCNS Press relations officer in Paris. A document, which could establish a link between Altantuya and the French company is the guarantee letter written by Abdul Razak Baginda so that his mistress could obtain a visa to enter the Schengen zone (of whom France is a member country). The French embassy could not refuse this service to a man decorated with the Legion d’Honneur. But the role of Altantuya in the submarines negotiations is still not clear. Intelligence agencies find her background intriguing and the Russian FSB (ex-KGB) is following closely the case.

In Ulaan Baataar, Mungunshagai, the eldest son of Altantuya, who is 12 years old, is traumatised by the death of his mother. Altanshagai, the youngest, who is five years old and mentally handicapped, has not understood that he will never see again his mother. “He is asking for her all the time and is staying the whole day prostrated on his chair. Every evening, I bring him sweets and I tell him that his mother gave it to me for him”, says Shaaribuu Setev, the grandfather of the two boys. As for Baginda, he settled down in the United Kingdom with his family. He never uttered a word of regret on the deadly fate of the one who shared his life for two years.
Arnaud Dubus (in Kuala Lumpur, Ulaan Baataar and Paris)


According to Malaysiakini, it took three months for Anaud to investigate the whole thing from start to finish to present that newspiece that becomes a sensational piece in Malaysia in these two days. As I said, the murder looks similar in reputation and legacy of the Black Dahlia murder but the crime here is not perfect. For the Black Dahlia mystery, it remains unknown of who killed Elizabeth Short.

This hidden report dated 19 November 2006, one month after the murder confirms that Sirul and Azilah were indeed asked by someone to eliminate Altantuya with monies of $50K to $100K per person upon the completion of the assignment.

Whatever Sirul admitted shows of blind obedience, a flaw in the general order of following the superior's orders. Justice K.N Segara, before being replaced by the present judge had a good inferencing that if the trial goes properly, it means that the two is guilty and punishable by death - that is likely to happen when the judgement is delivered on April 9.

Now, the main point here is deciphering who "ordered" Altantuya to be killed. From the description of this revelation newspiece coupled with the exposed report that Pete has exhibited on Malaysia Today, it is good as it gets to say that "she" (first clue) ordered both of them to neutralize Altantuya.


1. At the end of March 2005 the couple was in Paris, where they met with Najib Razak. A picture shows the threesome in a Parisian private club. “Tuya showed me the pix. She said that one of the men was her boyfriend, Abdul Razak Baginda, and the other the “big boss”, Najib Razak. - From what I understand, most of the time Rosmah would accompany Najib working / business trips. When he goes doing business, Rosmah would go around doing the shopping (as most of us would know about it) in a lavish way.

2. According to a private detective, now in hiding in India, the beautiful Tuya was also the occasional mistress of the deputy Prime minister, who was introduced to her by Baginda at the end of 2004. - As past history implies - Big Mama is absolutely disgusted and jealous of Altantuya having an affair with her husband. In the past, Najib has on few occasions had affairs that the wife would found out eventually through word of mouth by someone who could have seen him.

3. Altantuya rushed to Kuala Lumpur, in order to claim her share of the commission from Baginda ; she said she was entitled to 500,000 dollars. Baginda and Altantuya broke up prior to this. A jealous Rosmah Mansor, the feared businesswoman and wife of Najib Razak, objected any payment to Altantuya. - This could be the key point. Given of the past history and discovery of her affair with Najib, this could present an opportunity to punish her for what she did to Najib. But does it have to be that brutal? I also have a hypothesis, that if you punish someone and leave the person alive, the victim could remember the identity of the offender and would report to the Mongolian embassy or something. Why not cover your husband's embarassment by silencing the whistleblower? That was something that could let the police and other people baffled.

Also referring to the Statutory Declaration that Pete made on June 18 last year:

4. Three other people were also present at the scene of the crime: "Rosmah, Norhayati Hassan (Rosmah's ADC) and her husband Acting Col. Aziz Buyong - Does this imply that she wants to see to it that Sirul and Azhar really did the job as ordered (neutralizing Altantuya) and making sure that no one could find her out? Silencing the voice. If the SD says that the three were there when the explosives are placed, obviously, either Azilah or Rohaniza (the one driving the red Proton Satria) either contacted whoever assigned them this task or she calls the assigner on Azilah's behalf.

5. Setelah selesai menukar tayar, saya terus memandu jip saya ke Kota Damansara menuju ke rumah saya untuk mengambil bahan letupan yang disimpan di rumah saya - We were told that Act. Col Buyong (Norhayati Hassan's husband) is a demolition expert. How did Sirul keeps those explosives at his house? Only a Defense Ministry personnel can have access. The hypothesis is that if Big Mama , knowing that he's a demo man, asks her ADC to get to the Act Col Aziz, get some explosives, pass it to Azilah, then Azilah tells Sirul to keep this in the house for some later assignment.

6. But the police report has one point in contrast to one point in the SD which is -

Police Report : - Saya mengambil bahan letupan dan memasang pada bahagian kepala sementara Tuan Azilah memasang letupan pada bahagian kaki hingga ke paras pinggang mangsa.

SD: - My informer states that Acting Colonel Aziz Buyong was the person who placed the C4 on various parts of Altantuya's body while being witnessed by Rosmah and Norhayati

Here is where the question arises. Was Sirul being put to tell that he and Azilah placed the explosives against what they actually intended to say? Or was it that the information given is not correct? UTK people mostly don't use those hi-tech military weaponry or demolition stuff or something. Mostly those who are familiar with explosives are from the military, if my notion is correct.

This part is a little confusing, so Pete will need to establish or proof a difference between the two statements. Which one is the correct one?

In his caution statement to the police, Sirul confirms that they were hired to kill Altantuya and that he took orders from Azilah, who in turn appears to be taking his orders from someone higher up -- apparently from Musa Safri or someone else from Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s office.

Then we come to the above part. Surely it's an order from above, not Razak Baginda, but the elusive question remains who actually, but if you read a few times of that Liberation article, and the SD, you are likely to get a guessing of who ordered Altantuya to be killed.

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