Jul 6, 2008

Malaysia seeks Interpol help to find missing investigator in murder claim

Another conspiracy case in the making?.

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian police said Sunday they had asked Interpol to help find a private investigator who has been reported missing since making explosive claims linking the deputy premier to a murder.

The case is linked to a political brawl between opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, which could decide who is the next leader of Malaysia.

At a press conference Thursday organised by Anwar, private investigator Balasubramaniam Perumal released a sworn statement accusing Najib of having an affair with 28-year-old Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was murdered in 2006 and her body blown up with explosives in a remote forest.

A close friend of the deputy premier, who hired Balasubramaniam in the days before the Mongolian woman's brutal slaying, is on trial for abetting the murder.

Balasubramaniam said he had detailed information about Najib's relationship with Altantuya which he gave police but which was never raised at the trial, or in a police report he was asked to sign.

Najib reacted angrily, saying he had never met Altantuya and "absolutely" did not have a sexual relationship with her. He said the allegations were a fabrication "designed to tarnish my image".

Meanwhile Anwar was fighting accusations of sodomy against a young male aide, which he said were concocted by the government to prevent him from seizing power.

In the next shock development, Balasubramanian retracted the allegations on Friday, saying he made them under duress.

His nephew on Saturday filed a missing person's report, saying the investigator and his family had disappeared.

Criminal Investigation Department director Bakri Zinin said Malaysian police had enlisted the help of Interpol and authorities in neighbouring countries to help locate him.

"We are seeking Balasubramaniam to help in our investigations," he told a press conference Sunday.

"We suspect he is either in hiding or someone is hiding him."I give a guarantee of his safety if he comes to meet us, and he is free to bring a lawyer to the meeting," he said.

"The police in the country have been put on alert to find him and we have informed Interpol and ASEANAPOL as well as the police in neighbouring countries."

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