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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept. 18, 2015:

Xavier Andre Justo, presently imprisoned in Thailand for corporate espionage and blackmail, is expected to seek an extension to file an appeal over his conviction.

As the 30 day deadline to file an appeal ended yesterday, legal sources disclosed that this was due process for an application seeking an extension to be submitted.

Justo’s defence team had engaged a new lawyer to act as lead counsel on his behalf during proceedings at the Bangkok Court and the application seeking an extension to file an appeal would be filed by this team.

His previous lead Thai counsel was Pranot Kalanuson, while his Swiss lead counsel remains Dr Marc Henzelin.

“We know Justo’s defence team is keen to engage a new Thai counsel to act on their behalf with their filings and appeals.”

The 49-year-old Swiss national was sentenced to a three year imprisonment on Aug 17, after he pleaded guilty to blackmailing his former employer PetroSaudi International.

He was arrested in June following a report lodged and investigators also seized an assortment of hard drives and computers from Justo’s home.

In the course of Thai police questioning Justo over the blackmail activities, investigators learnt several prominent Malaysians and politicians were in communication with the IT specialist over the data he had in his possession.

The Thai investigators learnt this data was used in an alleged conspiracy to disparage Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his administration and national investment entity 1MDB. Justo also claimed he was offered US$2 million for the data.

Following the damning disclosure by Thai police, Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar announced that police had commenced investigations under Section 124 of the Penal Code for activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy.

Former bank turned media tycoon Datuk Tong Kooi Ong and Edge Publications chief executive officer Ho Kay Tat were among the first called in by police to have their statements recorded.

Besides them PJ Utara Member of Parliament Tony Pua was also called in more than once to have his statement recorded.

Besides them, London-based online portal editor Clare Rewcastle Brown is also a person of interest in police investigations here.

Earlier this week, the IGP reassured the probe in the alleged conspiracy plot was still underway as numerous others were to be called for questioning.

“Those who were called in previously would be recalled again at the appropriate time,” he had said.

He added that police were awaiting the go ahead to be officially handed a copy of Justo’s sworn confession which led to his guilty plea.

Malaysia and Thailand has a Mutual Legal Assistance agreement in place, to enable both countries exchange information and cooperate in criminal matters.

“This MLA involves protocol which would involve out A-Gs Chambers, Wisma Putra and their Thai counterparts.”

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