KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14, 2015:

Former PetroSaudi executive Andre Xavier Justo is expected to go to prison when the sentence is handed out by a court in Bangkok as early as next week.

According to Singapore daily theStraits Times, Swiss national Justo, who was arrested by Thai police at his house in Koh Samui on June 2 for blackmailing his former employer PetroSaudi, would be pleading guilty.

He was also reported to have attempted to sell data stolen from the company to parties allegedly planning to topple Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Quoting Justo’s counsel Dr Marc Henzelin, a Geneva-based lawyer retained by Justo’s wife in Switzerland, the daily wrote that there would not be a full hearing with witnesses as the “verdict is already done”.

“There will be a hearing which will theoretically take place next week. It is understood from the police that it should take place next week but it may be 10 days. He will be sentenced straight away.

“The fact that he pleads guilty will be a mitigating circumstance. The fact that he collaborated with the police and made confessions will be taken into consideration by the judge. This has to be pleaded by the Thai lawyer and I’m sure he will,” Henzelin said to the daily in a phone conversation from Geneva.

The lawyer was also reported saying that he was informed that Justo’s sentence could range from six months to 18 months and, under the terms of a treaty between Thailand and Switzerland, if Justo only had less than a year to serve, he could be transferred and serve time in Switzerland.

“But if he had to serve it in Thailand he would accept that,” Henzelin said.

After his arrest, Justo, 48, signed a full confession and, in an interview on July 23 with theStraits Times while in jail, detailed how he had met a group of buyers in Bangkok and Singapore to sell them the data stolen from the company. However, he claimed that he was not paid the US$2 million (RM8 million) agreed for the transaction.

The daily stated that Justo was also considering returning the approximately 90GB of stolen data to PetroSaudi, the lawyer said, in the interest of further mitigating his case.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and a team of Malaysian police had also repeatedly attempted to meet Justo for questioning but had been unsuccessful so far.

Recently, Khalid was reported to have said that Malaysian police would decide later on whether or not to record Justo’s statement.

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