BANGKOK: Thai police today confirmed that Swiss citizen Xavier Andre Justo met with a very important person from a Malaysian opposition party before selling classified information belonging to Saudi oil company PetroSaudi International.
Royal Thai Police spokesperson Lt Gen Prawut Thavornsiri told the New Straits Times here that Justo, a former PetroSaudi director, admitted to meeting the opposition leader at a hotel in Singapore.
He however declined to name the individual. Under Thai law, a person cannot be named prior to a warrant of arrest.
“He (Justo) met a very important person from a certain country, in Singapore. He then negotiated the selling price of the documents and later sold them to the buyer.”
Prawut later disclosed that the individual was from an opposition party in Malaysia. He also said Justo admitted that he met with a media tycoon at the same location in Singapore.
He declined to name the media tycoon.
Sources however indicated that the politician was a DAP member of parliament. The other two individuals were a publisher and owner of a Malaysian media group, respectively.
“He told us the name of every person he met. We confiscated his personal computer and cellphone and all the relevant details were found on those devices."
“Most of the information was gathered from Justo’s email correspondence and WhatsApp chat records,” Prawut said.
He said immigration and hotel records gathered by Thai police corroborated Justo's account of the meeting.
He said Justo had also admitted to blackmailing his former employer, PetroSaudi International, and will be charged under Thai law for extortion and blackmail.
Prawut however said Justo denied having tampered with documents that were eventually sold to a certain news outlet in Europe.
“He didn’t make any changes to the documents and sent the original documents (to the buyer) as digital copies," he said.
Thai police believe that, based on information given by Justo, the emails were tampered with before it was published.
“I do not know who tampered with the documents. It was done after the transaction was made,” he said during an interview with the NST and several news agencies at the Royal Thai police headquarters in Pathumwan district here.
The 10-minute interview, held in a hall located on the building's second floor, was conducted in both English and Thai as Prawut's subordinates stood and observed.
Prawut appeared calm and composed as he fielded questions from the few journalists who were allowed inside the hall.
Prawut said Justo would not be charged in court until investigations are complete.
“It will take less than a month before investigations are complete. There are still a few more details that have to be gathered.”
Under Thai law, a person can be remain under police custody for no more than 84 days before he is charged in court.
When asked if he had sold the documents to London-based whistleblower website Sarawak Report, Prawut declined to elaborate.
“Everyone knows which news organisation I am talking about,” he said.
When asked if any witnesses from Malaysia would be called to assist in the ongoing investigation, Prawut said: “No, not yet. Our investigation is currently focused on Justo blackmailing PetroSaudi.
“He has admitted to the crime and has furnished us with all the relevant documents.”
He added that Justo would not be extradited to Switzerland as the crime was committed in Thailand.
Justo has been under Thai police custody since his arrest late last month after he allegedly stole thousands of emails and documents from Petro Saudi, and tried to blackmail his former employer. He moved to Thailand after he was terminated from the company.
Thai police are investigating how, after leaving the company, Justo issued a series of blackmail demands for 2.5 million Swiss francs (approximately RM9.9 million).
PetroSaudi did not meet Justo’s demand. Then in February this year, doctored and tampered versions of the emails suddenly started to appear on Sarawak Report, sparking a political row implicating 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and Malaysian leaders.
Yesterday, a former Sarawak Report editor allegedly confessed to assisting the online portal's founder, Clare Rewcastle-Brown, in falsifying documents for use in news reports in a bid to topple Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak through the 1MDB controversy.
The confession, said to be made in a video recording, detailed measures taken to defame Najib and 1MDB, including claims that Rewcastle-Brown had fabricated facts related to 1MDB, Najib, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, his stepson, Riza Aziz, and PetroSaudi International.
It also revealed the involvement of several prominent opposition leaders in the conspiracy and a number of British nationals, in addition to Rewcastle-Brown.