IGP insists Malaysia made request to meet PetroSaudi exec

GOMBAK, Malaysia - Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has refuted a media report quoting Thai police as saying that Malaysia has yet to make a request to meet former PetroSaudi International exec Xavier Andre Justo.

Khalid said the media was not privy to discussions between the police and their Thai counterparts but affirmed that a request had already been made to meet Justo.

"Who did they ask? The Thai police? Maybe they asked the Thai media and they definitely won't know.

"This is between PDRM and the Royal Thai Police. Yes, of course we had asked to meet Justo," he told reporters.

A Bernama report on July 9 quoted Royal Thai Police spokesman Pol Lft Gen Prawuth Thavornsiri as saying that he was not aware of any official request from Malaysia to interview the former executive who is being investigated for blackmail.

Prawuth was also quoted as saying that there may be attempts to "persuade" Justo to keep his mouth shut and that police there have placed personnel with the Swiss national whenever he meets a visitor.

Only certain people are allowed to visit him, he added.

Last month, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that Justo had incorrectly relayed information on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which he stole from PetroSaudi, to news website Sarawak Report. He also said that Justo tampered with the information.

Justo has denied the claim, Thai media reported.

The 49-year-old was paid the equivalent of 140 million baht (S$5.6 million) to leave the company after he was found to have "behaved against the company's rules and regulations."

Khalid Abu Bakar has said a request was submitted in June to Thai police to interrogate Justo. Police will record Justo's statement before deciding on the next step, he said.