Justo’s arrest proves 1MDB right all along, says minister

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(June 29): The arrest of former PetroSaudi International director Xavier Andre Justo in Thailand proves that troubled state investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) is in the right, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzalah said today.

He told the Dewan Negara that the arrest also proved that the online media reports on the debt-ridden state investment firm were baseless.

"Xavier Andre Justo's arrest has had a huge impact on 1MDB, especially in terms of the accusations published by online media.

"It means 1MDB is on the right track."

Husni said Putrajaya would only consider taking action after the Thai authorities completed their investigation.

"The government is awaiting the full report before taking any action," he said.

He said this in response to senator Datuk Mohd Salim Sharif, who wanted to know how the government was managing the falling oil prices and the depreciation of the ringgit.

Husni also urged the senators to critically evaluate any news reports on 1MDB.

"As senators, we must view the issue based on facts and not ad hoc facts or accusations or theories.

"They all need proof and this is why the government has appointed the auditor-general to investigate.

"What matters is that the government has a rationalisation plan in place," he said.

Justo, who had allegedly leaked information linked to 1MDB's deal with PetroSaudi, was arrested on a Thai island on June 22 and sent to the capital Bangkok the day after.

He is currently being held by the Crime Suppression Division of the Royal Thai Police.

Numerous computers, hard drives and other pieces of evidence were seized during his arrest, which is to facilitate investigations into the leak of emails between PetroSaudi and 1MDB for the purpose of blackmail.

Justo has denied these allegations.

Malaysia's government now says that the emails and documents taken from PetroSaudi were tampered with, based on initial investigations by private cyber security firm Protection Group International (PGI).

Pro-government daily The New Straits Times was the first to break the news about PGI's findings after reports of Justo's arrest in Thailand.

It quoted an unnamed PGI expert as saying that the leaked documents had been edited so as to paint a negative picture of 1MDB.

1MDB also issued a statement after, saying that some of the leaked emails had been tampered with.

Justo is believed to have leaked the documents to UK-based website Sarawak Report, which then published an expose that the entire 1MDB-PetroSaudi joint venture deal was initiated by businessman Low Taek Jho and his team on September 8, 2009, less than a month before the deal was signed.

This was the deal in which Low allegedly siphoned off US$700 million to a company he controlled, a claim he has denied.

Meanwhile, The Star Online last week reported Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying that Malaysian individuals were believed to have asked Justo to tamper with certain facts before leaking the information to Sarawak Report.

This was apparently revealed by Justo, a Swiss national, during interrogation by Thai police. – The Malaysian Insider