Justo admits Singapore meet

Justo admits Singapore meet
Confessions: A filepic of Justo being watched by armed guards during a press conference at the Royal Thai Police head office.

BANGKOK - Xavier Andre Justo, un­der investigation for allegedly blackmailing his ex-employer PetroSaudi International, has ad­­mitted meeting people in Singapore to negotiate the handing over of PetroSaudi documents in his possession, say Thai police.

"He negotiated the price to give them all the copies of the documents in electronic files," Royal Thai Police spokesman Pol Lt-Gen Prawuth Thavornsiri told reporters here yesterday.

He said Thai police knew the identity of the people based on Justo's admission as well as evidence collected and details from sources such as his cellphone and personal computer.

He, however, declined to reveal the people Justo met, reports Bernama.

Asked whether the Swiss had met with Sarawak Report news portal editor and founder Claire Rewcastle Brown, Gen Prawuth just replied: "There was also someone from Europe."

Justo was reported in the Malaysian media as having met with members of a Malaysian opposition group and a media owner in Singapore prior to his arrest in Thailand on June 22.

Prawuth said, however, that Justo denied tampering with or changing the original documents.

"He (Justo) didn't change. He gave them the original documents in electronic files," said Prawuth, who added that the group met in Thailand also.

He raised the possibility that the group, which had bought the copies of the original documents, tampered with them as there were changes in information compared with the original emails that Justo stole.

Prawuth said Justo's case was almost completed and would not take more than another month as he already admitted to blackmailing and extorting money from PetroSaudi in exchange for not disclosing confidential information.

He said Thai police had gathered other documentary evidence, such as e-mail and immigration and hotel reports.

The Thai police have no plans to interview other witnesses as they have enough evidence, he said.

Gen Prawuth was unsure when Justo would be charged, but it has to be within 84 days from the date of his arrest on June 22.

He said Justo would not be extradited as the offence was committed in Thailand.

In his confession, Justo provided dates, times and venues of the meetings, which Gen Prawut said had been cross-checked and found to be correct, reports The Nation / Asia News Network.

This was believed to be part of a plot to discredit Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak by using false information about 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state development fund chaired by Najib.

Malaysian officials had previously asked Thai police for information but it could not be given because the investigation was ongoing.

"Now they can seek information on the case through the embassy," said Gen Prawuth.

As of press time, Justo was still in detention at the Bangkok Remand Prison. Earlier, it had been rumoured that police had handed the suspect over to their Malaysian counterparts.

After Justo was arrested, a statement from PetroSaudi said the firm was relieved that the suspect would now face justice through the courts and that it had been the victim of a regrettable crime that had been politicised in Malaysia.

"We are happy to finally set the record straight and we apologise to the Malaysian people for the harm that one of our unscrupulous ex-employees has caused to them," the statement read.

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