Malaysia ready to help Thailand in investigating PetroSaudi exec

PUTRAJAYA - Malaysia is ready to assist Thai police in investigating former Petrosaudi executive Xavier Justo, including extraditing individuals responsible for publishing articles based on unverified leaked information about 1MDB provided by him.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said initial investigation revealed that Justo was responsible for providing incorrect information to Sarawak Report.

He said Sarawak Report Blog had become a source of false information and its articles on 1MDB were later reported by The Edge and other media.

"The Edge and its owner Datuk Tong Kooi Ong must be held responsible for publishing inaccurate reports and false information. The Edge should have verified the fact before publishing the articles.

"If there is any request from the Thai police for any individual to assist them in investigating the case to be sent there, we are ready to help them," he said, adding that he had also asked the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission to investigate Sarawak Report.

1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) pointed out that some leaked emails connected to the arrest of a former PetroSaudi employee were tampered with.

"1MDB notes press reports on the arrest of a former PetroSaudi staff for attempted blackmail and extortion in relation to proprietary email information belonging to PetroSaudi," it said in a statement, adding that it would co-operate with authorities and that it was confident that the probe would be conducted thoroughly.

On Wednesday, Thailand's Bangkok Post quoted Thai police as saying that Justo, 49, was paid the equivalent of 140 million baht (S$5.53 million) to leave the company after he was found to have "behaved against the company's rules and regulations."

The former IT executive was also accused of demanding another 90mil baht (RM9.98mil) from the company in exchange for not disclosing confidential information to rival companies.

Justo was arrested at a house at Koh Samui on Monday, allegedly for leaking information to the London-based Sarawak Report website for several reports about 1MDB.