The tide is turning. The latest big bite at the current burning-hot flavoured in the series of story about 1MDB ‘Financial Scandal’ is that the identity is the Malaysian businessman who offered former Petro Saudi executive Xavier Justo USD 2 million for information in the form of downloaded stolen e mails.
The Straits Times story:
Justo: I was offered $2.7m for stolen data
Straits Times, Spore 24 Juky 2015
Ex-PetroSaudi employee says he was never paid what prominent Malaysian businessman promised him
Nirmal Ghosh Indochina Bureau Chief In Bangkok
Swiss national Xavier Andre Justo – who is now in jail in Thailand in connection with trying to blackmail his former employer, PetroSaudi, which is entangled in a huge scandal involving the Malaysian government – has claimed that he was promised US$2 million (S$2.7 million) in exchange for data he stole from his former employer.
He also told The Straits Times in a prison interview that he was never paid what he was promised by a prominent Malaysian businessman. Justo claimed a deal was reached in Singapore in February on the sale of the documents, which was followed by lengthy discussions on how he would be paid.
The group of people he met in Singapore to negotiate the sale of the data were named in a 22-page confession Justo made to Thai police. He showed a copy of the confession to The Straits Times.
“I tried to open an account in Singapore, to have the money paid directly from (the buyer’s) account,” Justo said. “DBS Bank refused, I don’t know why. After that I opened an account in Abu Dhabi in my own personal name which was refused by (the buyer) because it had my name on it.”
“Then I tried to use my company account in Hong Kong and he said the same, after that it was through a Luxembourg company and then again (the buyer) refused and after that Clare Brown took the lead,” he said.
He was referring to Ms Clare Rewcastle-Brown, the Malaysian-born British-based editor of the Sarawak Report, which over the past year has made astonishing claims about the misappropriation of billions at state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), whose advisory board is headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Justo claimed the buyer also “offered to pay me by cash”.
He said: “So I was supposed to go to Singapore every week or every other week to receive an envelope with a few thousand or tens of thousands, and repeat this process for months until the final amount will have been paid. And again I refused.”
Justo echoed what Thai police said last week, that his confession was backed up by documents including a record of his WhatsApp conversations with the buyers.
“All of what is written in my confession, most of it is proven by e-mail conversations, WhatsApp messages I have had with (them).”
Ms Rewcastle-Brown had agreed to receive the US$2 million from the buyer and send him US$250,000 a month for consultancy services, he claimed.
“I don’t know if she received the money or not, (because) I was arrested,” he said. “I have no idea.”
Contacted by The Straits Times, Ms Rewcastle-Brown rubbished the allegations as “bunkum”.
“What I have presented on 1MDB and has been clarified by The Edge and corroborated by several other official sources is a coherent explanation of events, versus the dodging, changing stories of 1MDB,” she said. The Edge is a Malaysian daily whose chief executive officer, Mr Ho Kay Tat, was questioned by Malaysian police yesterday over articles it published related to 1MDB.
On Monday, in a note published on the front page of his daily, Mr Ho said the newspaper had “a public duty to find and report the truth”.
“We were not involved in any theft, we did not pay anyone, and we did not tamper (with) any of the e-mails and documents we were given,” he added.
He also said the newspaper was handing over to Malaysian government investigators printed documents and the hard disk that contains bank transfers and statements linked to the 1MDB scandal.
Justo, who gave the interview across a table in a small office inside the sprawling Bangkok Remand Prison, also claimed that the group he had met in Singapore – including Ms Rewcastle-Brown – had tampered with the data he had given them.
“I gave the original documents without any kind of alteration,” he claimed. “I can say that I gave those documents to two groups of people,” he added. One was Ms Rewcastle-Brown and “her IT guy” and the other was the Malaysian businessman and his colleague. The Straits Times is not naming the businessman as well as his colleague pending their response to the latest allegations.
He alleged that those he met had talked about using the documents “to try to bring down the Malaysian government”, adding that they also referred to plans to “modify the documents”.
Refuting vehemently these allegations, Ms Rewcastle-Brown said Justo was “full of untruths.”
She said: “Why would I wish to alter anything? If I had, why haven’t 1MDB and PetroSaudi brought out the evidence of such altering in all of the last five or so months?”
Thai police arrested the tattooed Justo, who has a wife and a nine-month-old son, currently in Switzerland, on June 22 at his spacious residence on the resort island of Koh Samui.
Justo, a former head of IT at the London office of Petro Saudi, has admitted that he had stolen company data – some 90 gigabytes worth – when he left in 2011.
He said he asked Petro Saudi for more money in 2013 but it turned him down. Subsequently, through a contact in Geneva with connections in Malaysia, he was introduced to Ms Clare Rewcastle-Brown, whom he later met in Bangkok at the Plaza Athenee hotel and in Singapore at the Fullerton Hotel. In Singapore, she was accompanied by the others named in his confession.
Justo, 48, was clean-shaven, looking well and composed. He was clad in a light blue cotton prison issue shirt and darker blue shorts. Looking over his reading glasses, he showed The Straits Times his confession, written densely in capital letters over 22 pages. He said it had not been made under duress, and that he had been pleasantly surprised at how well he had been treated in the Bangkok prison.
Justo faces up to seven years in jail and a fine if found guilty of extortion. He was hoping for a lighter prison term in view of his confession, his lawyer Pranot Kalanuson told The Straits Times.
Thai police spokesman, Lieutenant-General Prawut Thavornsiri, said on Wednesday that Justo must be tried first in a Thai court on charges of blackmail and serve a jail term – if any – before he could be extradited, according to The Star newspaper in Malaysia. It quoted the spokesman as saying that police were seeking evidence against the Swiss national that would be submitted to the public prosecutors, possibly within this month.
Malaysia’s police chief Khalid Abu Bakar arrived in Bangkok yesterday to try to interview Justo.
• With reporting by Malaysia Correspondent Shannon Teoh
In this ST story, Justo claimed that he met at Fullerton Hotel in Singapore “Sarawak Report editor in chief Clare Rewcastle-Brown accompanied others name in the confession”.
Justo also claimed that the Malaysian buyer agreed to make these payment arrangements of “Ms Rewcastle-Brown had agreed to receive the US$2 million from the buyer and send him US$250,000 a month for consultancy services”.
The Swiss national also claimed in his confession that he prepared two set of documents which were given to Rewcastle-Brown and the “IT guy”.
It is believed that the Malaysian business man is staunch Anwarista Tong Kooi Ong, who owns The Edge Media Group. The Edge, The Edge Financial Daily and BFM 89.9 have been very consistent in their attacks on the 1MDB ‘Financial Scandal’.
Is the “IT guy who accompanied the Malaysian businessman” is the “Forensics expert” who The Edge Managing Editor Ho Kay Tat mentioned?
Rewcastle-Brown, just like Malaysian Opposition Leaders, when they start to lose their battles and the tide is turning against them would just rubbish any evidence to prove that they were lying to begin with.
The 1MDB ‘Financial Scandal’ episode of attacking the Malaysian Government strategic investment corporation for acts of embezzlement and white collar crimes are slowly to be presented to be manipulated, distorted and fabricated information or even worse, pure lies.
Now, the conspiracists of Rewscatle-Brown, Malaysian Opposition Leaders and Malaysian staunch Anwarista businessman are running helter skelter as the reversal of the game has started.
It is expected they would make more lies trying to cover the previous lies they commonly agreed and shared, in the strategy to topple Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak by demonising him through the build up stories of ‘1MDB Financial Scandals’.
The Edge Media Group owner and staunch Anwarista Tong Kooi Ong admitted that they have misled Justo to get information about the USD1.83 billion scam against Petro Saudi International.
Yes, we misled Justo on payment to get proof of US$1.83 billion scam
BY TONG KOOI ONG AND HO KAY TAT
Published: 24 July 2015 11:21 AM
We refer to the story in The Straits Times today in which Xavier Andre Justo accused us of not paying him what we said we would for the information he gave us on the scandalous 1MDB-PetroSaudi International joint venture.
First off, we must say The Straits Times journalist must be very well connected to be given access to Justo in his Bangkok jail.
Even our Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, who is now in Bangkok, has so far been refused access to Justo.
We wonder which powerful hidden hand arranged for Nirmal Ghosh of the Singapore daily to meet Justo so that he can launch an attack on us?
Justo is obviously an angry man, and understandably so, as we did not pay him what he wanted.
Yes, we misled him. But that was the only way to get hold of the evidence to expose how a small group of Malaysians and foreigners cheated the people of Malaysia of US$1.83 billion (RM6.97 billion).
His statement confirmed what we have said earlier i.e. we never paid anyone.
As for Justo’s allegations that we told him we intended to tamper with the documents and that our objective was to bring down the government, surely if we had such intentions we would not tell it to someone we were meeting for the first time. All the more so when we know he will be upset with us because we will eventually not pay him what he wants.
There was no tampering because we immediately did a digital fingerprint of the hard disc that contained over 400,000 emails and documents and secured it. What is in the discs we gave Bank Negara Malaysia, the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission this week is the exact copy of the one Justo passed to us, and he has said he did not tamper with it.
Furthermore, the money trail we have put together and passed to investigators showing how money from 1MDB were moved into the accounts of various people at several global banks in several countries can be easily verified by investigators with help from their counterparts in this country.
Justo is understandably a bitter man. But this is not about Justo, neither is it about us.
It is about a scheme to cheat the people of Malaysia of US$1.83 billion through the 1MDB-PetroSaudi joint venture.
That so many government agencies are now investigating 1MDB and that it is now almost an insolvent company that needs to be bailed out validates all the work The Edge Media Group has done to expose what had happened.
We have done nothing wrong and we are here to assist investigators unlike some who seem to have disappeared. – July 24, 2015.
* Tong Kooi Ong is chairman of The Edge Media Group and Ho Kay Tat is the publisher. The Malaysian Insider is part of The Edge Media Group.
The Straits Times story is accurate. Xavier Justo was telling the truth about being offered the USD 2 million for the e mails.
What Tong did here is to admit that their media group is sustainable to corrupt practices to obtain story, which include deception. It must be morally and ethically breaching the conduct of becoming of journalism and a business paper.
More so, a respectable one within ‘the market’.
Tong in his article, was trying to create a doubt how did Miss Ghosh in Bangkok got this story. What he did not realise, he affirmed the accuracy of the ST story for Justo’s revelation that he was offered USD2 million for information.
Whether or not Justo was paid was no longer a material factor.
The “Thirteen Million Ringgit Plus” Question now is that, if the source and process of getting the story is tainted, what is the credibility of the story published then?
Probably it is true what The Edge Managing Editor Ho Kay Tat said that TEMG did not pay to get stories. However, the act to deceive someone of being lured into giving out information for an expected exchange of consideration in monetary form is as good as buying stories.
Stories with doubtful or even tainted with manipulated, fabricated information and lies are designed to demonise the leadership of Prime Minister Najib of being obtuse, poor corporate governance or even embezzlement and corrupt practices.
This is about building up the anguish of the rakyat and eventually getting them whether through political means of UMNO or series of mass demonstration which could lead to a ‘Malaysian Spring’ revolution. It would be modelled after the ‘Arab Spring’ which saw Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan government toppled.
Inadvertently, Tong admitted that TEMG is serving a political agenda, which is to be an accessory to topple a democratically elected leadership of Prime Minister Najib.
This story published via the pro-Anwarista news-portal is the evidence of the reversal of the game coming nicely into place.