The murder of a stunning Mongolian model who moved within Malaysian political circles has been linked to an international arms deal.
Asian beauty Altantuya Shariibuu, 28, who was shot and then blown up with explosives in 2006, may have been killed to silence her demands for a share in arms profits, UK newspaper The Times reports.
The scandal erupted last week after French media alleged that the arms deal — involving three submarines sold to the Malaysian government — and the murder of Ms Shariibuu were connected.
The glamorous Ms Shariibuu grew up in St Petersburg, spoke Russian, Chinese, Korean and English and has been dubbed “a Far Eastern Mata Hari”.
She moved in elite circles and was the mistress of a political aide to Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Ms Shariibuu’s fragmented remains, which could only be identified forensically, were found in the Malaysian jungle in 2006. Her body had been blown up with military explosives but it has been established she died from bullet wounds.
Two members of an elite Malaysian police unit that protects top politicians are now on trial for her murder in Kuala Lumpur, with a verdict expected next month.
But there are also allegations that Ms Shariibuu was trying to extort money from her lover Abdul Razak Baginda, a close associate of Mr Razak, at the time of her violent murder.
Officially, Mr Baginda has been cleared of any involvement in his model girlfriend’s murder, but questions have been raised in Malaysia’s parliament accusing him and his political boss Mr Razak of being involved in the killing, The Times reports.
Mr Razak was the country’s defence minister at the time French warship firm DCNS Armaris sold the three submarines to Malaysia in 2002 for $1.96 billion.
French newspaper Liberation last week published details of a $223 million payment made to a Malaysian company called Perimekar in 2006, which opposition leaders alleged in parliament was a “commission” for intermediaries involved in the arms deal and that Perimekar was secretly owned by Mr Baginda.
Mr Razak has denied the payment was a commission and said that Perimekar was a “project services provider”.
Liberation claims that Ms Shariibuu learnt of the payment and was demanding her share of the profits when she was brutally killed.
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