21 March 2018
Swiss review criminal complaint filed by figure in 1MDB case
Swiss prosecutors are reviewing a criminal complaint filed against two former colleagues and an alleged accomplice by Xavier Justo, a former director of energy group PetroSaudi International Ltd and a key figure in the 1MDB affair.
Justo told Reuters he was trying to clear his name after being jailed in Thailand for blackmailing his former employer over its ties to the scandal-hit Malaysian state fund 1MDB, with which it ran an energy joint venture from 2009 to 2012.
The blackmail allegation arose from Justo’s demanding money from PetroSaudi and threatening to make public information he gleaned from his time at the company.
PetroSaudi, which was not itself a subject of the complaint, responded through its lawyers that Justo was merely trying to “deflect attention from his own wrongdoing”.
Documents that Justo leaked after he left PetroSaudi in 2011 triggered investigations in at least six countries into the alleged theft of assets from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund.
The documents raised suspicions about how funds at the venture were used and prompted investigators to probe suspicions that money had been siphoned off from the joint venture.
A total of US$4.5 billion (RM17.65 billion) was misappropriated by high-level officials of 1MDB and their associates, according to civil lawsuits filed by the US Department of Justice.
Justo was freed from a Thai prison in an amnesty in 2016. Now he alleges that his confession came under pressure from PetroSaudi executives and their allies – including public relations officials and a fake London police detective – to cover up facts in the scandal.
The Swiss Office of the Attorney General confirmed it had received Justo’s criminal complaints and was reviewing them, declining to comment further.
PetroSaudi has denied wrongdoing in connection with the 1MDB venture and said it would cooperate fully with authorities.
Asked for comment on Justo’s allegations, PetroSaudi’s lawyers released a statement saying he was only repeating claims that contradicted his previous admissions.
“Our client did not take any steps to force him to make a false confession. He confessed to blackmail because the evidence against him was overwhelming and incontrovertible,” it said.
They questioned why Justo had gone public with his criminal complaint at a weekend news conference only months after approaching Swiss authorities.
“It seems to our client that the timing of this press conference suggests it has been carefully orchestrated to coincide with the forthcoming elections in Malaysia, when Prime Minister Razak will be seeking re-election,” they said.
Justo said Swiss authorities had asked him to delay filing charges to avoid interfering with their existing money-laundering investigation.
The complaints that he and his wife brought against PetroSaudi co-founder and chief executive Tarek Obaid, ex-PetroSaudi director Patrick Mahony and Briton Paul Finnigan include making threats, blackmail, extortion, endangering the lives of others, slanderous denunciation, misleading justice and money-laundering.
19 March 2018
Justo breaks silence, files complaint against PetroSaudi ‘coercion’
Former PetroSaudi International executive Xavier Justo has broken his silence and accused his former employer of manipulating the media to tarnish his reputation, the Swiss daily Le Temps reports.
At a press conference in Zurich yesterday, Justo announced that he had filed a complaint with the Swiss Attorney-General’s Office against two PetroSaudi executives, Tarek Obaid and Patrick Mahony, for threats, blackmail, extortion and coercion, among other grievances.
Justo also revealed emails that reportedly showed a Geneva-based “reputation management” company, KBSD, being engaged by PetroSaudi to allegedly disseminate the narrative that Justo was not a whistleblower, but an extortionist motivated by profit.
Le Temps alleged in its report that KBSD is infamous for practicing what it calls “black PR,” or the dissemination of negative information.
Justo claims that the narrative spread by KBSD was also intended to discredit Malaysian opposition media, in particular Sarawak Report – to whom he had handed over thousands of documents from PetroSaudi servers purportedly revealing the misappropriation of billions from 1MDB.
His complaint also reiterated the claim that PetroSaudi pushed him to incriminate himself while serving time in a Thai prison for blackmail, by using an English private detective masquerading as a Scotland Yard police officer to extract a confession from him.
At the press conference, Justo also recalled that Obaid had allegedly received funds from 1MDB for PetroSaudi’s RM1.4 billion buyout of the Sarawak bank UBG Bhd, owned by governor Abdul Taib Mahmud – said to be in exchange for Taib’s support for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak…
1MDB had denied this allegation.
PetroSaudi International is a key element in the 1MDB scandal.
The US Department of Justice alleged that US$1 billion transferred between 2000 and 2010 from 1MDB to PetroSaudi for a joint venture project were misappropriated through Good Star Ltd – a company allegedly controlled by 1MDB-linked businessperson Jho Low.
Justo’s press conference comes on the heels on international pressure being piled on the embattled state investment arm.
Najib has denied any misconduct in the 1MDB scandal and has been clear of any wrongdoing by attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali.
1MDB has also denied that any of its funds were misappropriated.
SWISS BOMB! Justo Speaks Out At Last, As Swiss Prosecutors Adopt His Criminal Complaint Against PetroSaudi Directors
There was an afternoon of drama in Zurich this weekend when, following months of silence, the 1MDB whistleblower Xavier Justo stepped forward with his wife Laura to lay out their charges against those whom they claim conspired to entrap and imprison him in Thailand.
In a central location in the city they told a selected group of journalists the details of an astonishing plot to entrap and imprison him in Thailand, all in order to discredit the exposes over 1MDB
The couple had waited patiently before speaking out, they explained, in response to requests from the Swiss authorities to first pursue official investigations into the massive money laundering scandal and to make their preparations.
However, in a letter sent to their lawyer on 9th March, the Federal Prosecutor Alice de Chambrier, confirmed that a full investigation has now been officially launched into all thirteen of the couple’s criminal complaints made against three named individuals, Tarek Obaid, Patrick Mahony and Paul Finnigan. It means that these three and their alleged accomplices can be arrested and interrogated by Swiss law enforcers, much in the same way that they orchestrated for Justo to be arrested in Bangkok.
The list of thirteen charges laid against the three named individuals and by implication their collaborators, which include the Prime Minister of Malaysia referred to in the complaint, is jaw dropping. Moreover, it reflects everything that Sarawak Report has reported about the conspiracy to entrap Xavier Justo and get him imprisoned in Thailand, in order to attempt to discredit our exposure of the billion dollar 1MDB thefts.
After months of preparation, the Swiss federal prosecutors have now confirmed that they have adopted every single one of the charges that were originally levied by Justo, which means official law enforcers believe there are sufficient grounds to pursue accusations of:
Threat, blackmail, extortion, coercion, sequestration, endangering the life of others, slander, slanderous denunciation, misleading of the courts, bribery of foreign public officials, false misrepresentation of office, criminal organisation, money laundering [translated]
These charges are levied specifically against the Swiss based Saudi, Tarek Obaid and two British citizens, Patrick Mahony and Paul Finnigan. However, the charge sheet cites they refer as well “against any other named persons whose acts may be criminalised, in particular because of the ..offences”.
According to the statements made by Xavier Justo at his press conference today, those accomplices include the Swiss lawyer, hired by PetroSaudi to falsely misrepresent his case, Marc Henzelin, as well as several PR and ‘private investigators’ who assisted the PetroSaudi directors.
In particular Justo named a Swiss PR man named David Scholberg, who describes himself as CEO & Founder of KBSD Reputation & Cyber-Security, who he claims acted as an intermediary who paid lawyer Marc Henzelin CHF300,000 on PetroSaudi’s behalf in order to hide the connection.
Others named were another Swiss PR operator, Marc Comina, as well as the British company Protection Group International and its CEO Brian Lord. Lord was also flown to Thailand during the period of the arrest and made statements to the press claiming that his ‘cyber intelligence’ company had proof that Sarawak Report had ‘tampered’ with data provided by Justo from PetroSaudi’s database.
Lawyer Who Was Conflicted Against His Alleged Client
Likewise, Justo has produced documents and emails which show that although the Swiss high profile lawyer Marc Henzelin, claimed to be representing him in Switzerland and had publicly denied that he was engaged by PetroSaudi, the lawyer was in fact knowingly being paid by that company through Scholberg to ‘represent’ Justo against his own interests in the criminal proceedings, which had been initiated against him by PetroSaudi.
Also named and heavily implicated during this press conference and in the narrative and evidence supporting the charges was the Malaysian Prime Minister, quoted by Mahony as being the man behind their actions – the man who needed to be got off the hook.
For the whole story: