Malaysia to reopen inquiry into Mongolian model’s murder

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Kuala Lumpur, June 22 (IANS) Malaysia will reopen an inquiry into the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was the lover of an aide of former Prime Minister Najib Razak, a media report said on Friday.

In June 2006, a pregnant Altantuya was taken to a forest and shot twice in the head and then her body was blown up with explosives, the Guardian report said.

Two bodyguards working for Najib, Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar, were convicted for the murder and sent to jail in 2008, but neither a motive for the crime, nor who ordered the killing, was ever investigated.

“I can confirm we are reopening investigations,” Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said on Friday.

He said a new police report submitted by Altantuya’s father on Wednesday was the reason for the new investigation.

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Altantuya had been the lover of Abdul Razak Baginda, a known associate of Najib, and many believe that her involvement in a defence deal to purchase two French Scorpene submarines may have led to her death.

Both Abdul and Najib were alleged to have taken multi-million dollar backhanders for the deal, which they deny.

Asked about the Altantuya case this week, Najib said: “I’m on record to have sworn in a mosque in the name of Allah that I had nothing to do with it. I still maintain that I only knew she died four, five days after the death… that was the first time I heard about her. There is no evidence to show I ever knew her.”

Sirul is currently in detention in Australia, after he fled Malaysia while out on bail.

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He said recently he would comply with a new investigation into Altantuya’s death and sources told the Guardian that Australian authorities have given the green light to deport Sirul back to Malaysia if he is treated fairly.

–IANS

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