A Malaysian police officer sentenced to death by hanging for the brutal murder of a young model may be living in Australia.
The sensational development in the case comes after Malaysia's top court sentenced two police officers to death over the killing of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Ms Shaariibuu was shot twice in the head before he body was blown up with military explosives in 2006.
It's understood Ms Shaariibuu was having an affair with a friend of the country's prime minister and was killed after trying to extort her lover.
One of Ms Shaariibuu executioners, Sirul Azhar Umar, is understood to be living in Australia.
The revelation has put Australia in a precarious position with Malaysian authorities calling for his extradition so he can face the death penalty back home.
It was only last week that Prime Minister Tony Abbott re-affirmed Australia's opposition to the death penalty in reference to the case of Bali Nine drug mule Myuran Sukumaran - who is due to be executed in Indonesia.
"Australia opposes the death penalty. We oppose the death penalty for Australians at home and abroad," he said.
"We obviously respect the legal systems of other countries but where there is an attempt to impose the death penalty on an Australian, we make the strongest possible diplomatic representations."
- A cover-up? -
Government critics in Malaysia have long alleged that the two men, members of an elite unit that guards top ministers, were scapegoats in the killing of Altantuya, who was at the centre of allegations of massive kickbacks in the $1.1 billion 2002 purchase of French Scorpene submarines.
The remains of Altantuya, who was involved in negotiations for the submarines, were found in a jungle clearing near Kuala Lumpur after apparently being shot and her corpse blown up with military-grade explosives.
Adding to the intrigue, she was a lover of Abdul Razak Baginda -- the man in charge of purchasing the submarines and a close associate of current Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was defence minister at the time of the deal.
Allegations have simmered for years that Altantuya was murdered to keep her quiet about purported kickbacks to high-level Malaysian officials.
The authoritarian government has long refused calls for a wide-ranging inquiry and the subject is taboo.
Both accused deny killing Altantuya. Sirul has previously alleged he was being "sacrificed" to protect others.
No other motive for Altantuya's death has ever been revealed.
In 2008, private investigator P. Balasubramaniam implicated several government officials, including Najib, in the murder. He later recanted, saying he was being coerced to keep silent, and fled abroad.
Najib has denied any involvement.
Balasubramaniam returned in 2013 vowing to expose the truth, but died within two weeks of an apparent heart attack.