KUALA LUMPUR, June 23, 2015:
Thai police arrested a former PetroSaudi International Ltd official for blackmailing and extorting the company, according to the Thai media.
Meanwhile, according to the New Straits Times here, Thai police chief Gen Somyot Pumpunmuang told reporters the Crime Suppression Division police detained Xavier Andre Justo, a Swiss national, yesterday following the issuance of an arrest warrant by the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court.
Blackmail and fraud, which Justo is accused of, is an international offence
The report stated police also searched his residence, seizing a computer and other equipment which they believe may have been used as part of the offence.
Police stated Justo, who had fled to Thailand, was previously an executive at PetroSaudi, a Saudi company known in Malaysia for its former dealings with strategic investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Justo had allegedly attempted to blackmail and extort PetroSaudi for as much as 2.5 million Swiss francs (RM10 million) two years ago.
The report stated after the blackmail, various emails and documents appeared on a politically-motivated blog Sarawak Report, sparking a wave of allegations against 1MDB.
It has now been learnt that some of the emails and documents published on the blog were found to be tampered with, bringing into question the veracity of these allegations.
A statement issued by PetroSaudi welcomed the arrest of Justo and that it would fully co-operate with Thai authorities.
“We are considering further legal action in other jurisdictions.“We are relieved that Mr Justo will now face justice through the courts.
“We have been the victims of a regrettable crime that has unfortunately been politicised in Malaysia,” a PetroSaudi spokesperson said.
He also stated that they were happy to finally set the record straight and they apologised to the Malaysian people for the harm that one of their unscrupulous ex-employees had caused to them.
The revelation that the documents — which were published and re-published in news portals — may have been tampered with, casts doubts on some of the allegations made against 1MDB.
This could mean the authorities might investigate media outlets that published stories citing the Sarawak Report for being an accomplice to blackmail and fraud or even whether these outlets profited from the fall of 1MDB bonds and Malaysian stocks due to negative reports stemming from unverified sources.
Sources close to 1MDB told The Rakyat Post the media outlets which published news reports based on The Sarawak Report were now responsible for the economic sabotage inflicted on the country.
“Police should seize files and sources belonging to these media outlets and share it with the Thai authorities to see if they were accomplices to blackmail, fraud and economic sabotage to benefit themselves.”