UMNO Uses Whistleblower’s Arrest to Defend 1MDB

June 28, 2015

UMNO Uses Whistleblower’s Arrest to Defend 1MDB

by John Berthelsen

Xavier Justo

Malaysia’s political establishment is using the arrest of Xavier Justo in Thailand to try derail questions over the ill-starred 1Malaysia Development Bhd Fund that go far beyond whether the whistle-blowing Swiss national did or did not steal and doctor documents and pass them to Sarawak Report, a critical blog run by a British reporter.

The United Malays National Organization has mounted a full-court attack on Sarawak Report and the Malaysian financial publication The Edge, threatening to crack down on The Edge’s printing license and driving a campaign through allied bloggers, the UMNO-owned New Straits Times and other media.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak himself threatened action against Sarawak Report, which responded angrily that there was no wrongdoing. At the same time, there appears to be a move to tie Mahathir Mohamad, the nonagenarian former premier and 1MDB’s fiercest critic, to allegations that the case against 1MDB has been doctored. 

For months, 1MDB has been under significant pressure both from the political opposition and some members of Najib’s own UMNO to come up with answers over what has become of RMB42 billion [US$11.3 billion] in liabilities the state-funded investment company has accrued since it came into being six years ago. Some sources in Kuala Lumpur say as much as RMB25 billion may be unrecoverable. Najib and company officials have been scrambling to find funds to meet regular interest payments, some of which have been deferred, apparently for lack of funds to meet them.

Thais Nab Justo in Koh Samui

Justo was arrested by Thai police in the presence of reporters and photographers from the UMNO-owned New Straits Times to record the event and print a front-page story accusing the “heavily tattooed Justo” of a long series of sins including theft and attempting to blackmail officials of PetroSaudi International, a controversial oil exploration firm closely connected to 1Malaysia Development Bhd, whose problems are said to threaten Malaysia’s entire financial structure. 

“This shocking story had the country talking,” according to the New Straits Times. “Who is Xavier Andre Justo? How could such a sorry figure have ignited a major Malaysian political storm? What motivated this man, so disconnected from the nation of Malaysia, to launch such a callous attack on our people without a thought for the consequences? The answer appears to be cold, hard cash. Greed can be a route to riches, but it can also be a dangerous road to ruin, as Xavier Justo is learning the hard way. Now, he finds himself in a Thai jail awaiting prosecution on charges of attempting to blackmail and extort money from his former employers; with further charges to follow in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.”

Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi threatened to take action against Sarawak Report and The Edge, a leading financial and investment news publication, both of which for months have been breaking embarrassing stories on the parlous state of 1MDB’s finances and on the connections between flamboyant young financier Low Taek Jho and Najib. Jho Low, as he is known, and Najib were instrumental in establishing 1MDB in 2009. Najib remains as the fund’s chief financial advisor.

 Home Minister’s Threat

Zahid charged that The Edge and Sarawak Report had been “spinning the facts” over the state of 1MDB’s finances. The government is armed with colonial-era legislation under the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Communications and Multimedia Act to attempt to deny licenses to what it deems to be offending publications.  With Sarawak Report headquartered in the UK, however, Zahid’s threat remains an empty one.

Justo, who left PetroSaudi several years ago, somehow got back into the company’s computers to download 3 million emails that allege damaging information on the transactions with 1MDB and a company closely connected to Jho Low, as he is known.

There have been attempts to tie Justo’s revelations to Mahathir.  In a report by Malaysia Today, a blog also operated from the UK, Raja Petra Kamarudin said he had been told Sufi Yusof, Mahathir’s secretary, had made “a number of trips to Thailand over the past year to meet [Justo] and the Thai authorities are trying to establish this through immigration records.”

If the Thai authorities manage to establish that some of the documents and e-mails were, in fact doctored, Raja Petra wrote, “and that Sufi did make a few trips to Thailand to meet [Justo] and was aware of, or was a party to, this fraud, it is not going to look good for Dr Mahathir.

A Furious Brown  Answers

Clare Rewcastle Brown, the UK-based blogger who publishes the Sarawak Report, fired back with a furious 1,600 word riposte in which she threatened to sue for libel and defended on a case by case basis the documents that PetroSaudi officials alleged were doctored.

“Sarawak Report will be demanding satisfaction over these false allegations of ‘tampering,’” she wrote. “We suggest these misrepresentations are added to the list of potentially criminal activities by PetroSaudi, whose false charges on this point currently number amongst the allegations that have landed [Justo] in a jail in Bangkok.”

The blog, Brown said, “has closely researched the extremely serious and libelous allegations, which claim documents relating to our coverage of the PetroSaudi 1MDB joint venture were ‘tampered’ and ‘distorted’ in order to ‘creatively alter’ the truth. We can now prove that these allegations are demonstrably untrue, by examining the evidence on which they were based.

So, she wrote, “our message to those who have accused us is check your facts before you sound off your accusations and start to worry about libel suits, if you have defamed us or an innocent man who is now in jail. We can confirm that there is zero evidence brought forward so far to substantiate the claims of ‘distortion’ made over the past 48 hours by the New Straits Times and taken up by certain media, bloggers and UMNO politicians.”

Indeed, she charged, “the little evidence that has been provided by these parties can be shown to confirm the exact opposite, which is that there has been no tampering of documents. Even so, people who could also have made the very same checks have falsely alleged that Sarawak Report and the Edge newspaper lied and deliberately misled readers with ‘distorted’ information about 1MDB’s missing billions.”

The New Straits Times, she said, never bothered to substantiate “grave and libelous charges” by showing their readers the actual evidence.

“As Sarawak Report pointed out yesterday, we corroborate our claims, so why can’t they? The reason turns out to be that it is startlingly easy to show that the claim is completely untrue.”

24 thoughts on “UMNO Uses Whistleblower’s Arrest to Defend 1MDB

  1. Nstp and utusan
    What is common apart of having same parent?
    Asked them how much they have paid todate for libels?

  2. Desperate propaganda from the 1MDB gang of thieves.

    But …. You can fool some of the people some of the time.
    But you cannot fool all the people all of the time.

    Not in the Internet Age.

    P.S. Neither will personal sob stories and so-called philantrophic

  3. Najib is just tightening the noose around his neck. Not only must Ms. Brown sue Petro Saudi but she has to take Najib and his 1MDB officials and staff to court. I do not know what she can really do since they have not committed acts of defamation in the UK. Perhaps, the Malaysian public can take class action law suit against them for corruption and abuse of power. Just a thought.

    A class action is a type of lawsuit in which one or several persons sue on behalf of a larger group of persons, referred to as “the class.” While the subject matter of class action lawsuits can vary widely, two factors are almost always present for every class action: 1) the issues in dispute are common to all members of the class, and 2) the persons affected are so numerous as to make it impracticable to bring them all before the court.


    Tun Dr. Mahathir has a better chance in the Malaysian courts to seek legal redress for their comments against him. After all, he can win easily since our judiciary will remember what he did to it after removing Tun Salleh Abas in 1988. They will rule in his favour since one good turn deserves another. Perhaps Dr. Phua can comment on this. I am not a lawyer.–Din Merican

  4. I only know that Alie is cat who really thinks that he got 9 lives.

    I felt that Najib shouldn’t mess with the Swiss and he should know why.

  5. I know whose truth is credible.

    It is the side who can back up their claims with facts and not threats.

    Guess which side is that .

  6. For those who read “Honours among theives”, you know who Jeffrey Archer is…….Sometimes, I wonder how lucky jibby is…..He can’t even get away from being held accountable for may “crimes”

    Ian Hislop’s take on Jeffrey Archer

    Gosh, even Angus also kenna sacked because of his indiscreet

  7. I admit it PM Najib made blunders in 1MDB. Everybody, including Umno members want the truth. I believe, he is credible enough to maintain his dignity. This time PM Najib excludes his “inclusiveness” on his 1MDB. We wait.
    Keep hoping and good luck. A pathological liar will not change.–Din Merican

  8. This man just pocketed €15m as stated, so why should he make a sorry figure?
    Jibby should hide for shame so Get Lost and let real Malaysians sort out the mess you made!

  9. Although I still wish I will be proven wrong by future events,
    this is the most likely scenario I foresee for our distressed nation:

    Stalemate continues in the struggle between Doctor and the 1PM-FLOM
    Grossly bad governance continues unabated in 1Malaysia
    Legitimacy of 1PM’s rule continues to be eroded with each new
    financial scandal coming to light and with the Doctor’s incessant attacks
    Meanwhile, our economy and government finances will be further distorted
    by politics and shameless buying of political support using tax payer
    There will be more and more falsification of official statistics to make the
    regime look OK
    In the run-up to GE14, there will be more and more attempts to
    stack the deck against the Opposition

    I hope we will not become like the Philippines in 1986 i.e.
    the Opposition winning the General Election, the losers unwilling to concede defeat and all these resulting in turmoil and a mass uprising of the
    population before the losers are ejected.

    Vote of no confidence in Parliament before GE14? Unlikely to work with the use of $$$ to prevent losing. Kicked out by own political party? Unlikely to work for the same reason.

  10. The legal route? Unlikely to work. The Doctor has created a Frankenstein’s Monster (by concentrating political power in the Executive)and now it is out of control. Much to his chagrin, I would think. The Judiciary, like all the other state institutions are subservient to the Executive. The Doctor also started the phenomena of the PM holding the position of Finance Minister and having multiple Ministers and agencies within a huge PM’s Department. Then there is also the PETRONAS funds under the control of the PM, without any accountability whatsoever.

    1Malaysia’s situation reminds me of the history of the USSR where Lenin was succeeded by the crafty and utterly ruthless Stalin. The brilliant and charismatic heir apparent Trotsky as well as others such as Bukharin, Zinoviev and Kamenev were no match for Stalin. (Trotsky was an intellectual, charismatic, who also created the Red Army which actually saved the regime from an early demise).

  11. All sides are backing their claims with threats of possible court actions & to be sure, no side backs up its claim with pure facts unaccompanied by threats, implied or otherwise.

  12. Let us not get divert by all these Ho Ha over Justo. We just need 1MDB to tell us where has the money gone or as TDM said “show us the money”. If there is no wrong doing, how can PetroSaudi be open to Blackmail?

  13. Dato, interesting to note your take on class action. No lawyer but notwithstanding the fact there is no precedent here for a class action on behalf of the Govt, my question is, do we have a statue permitting taxpayers litigation on behalf of the government to recover losses in fraud and mismanagement in spite of the existing criminal sanctions in place ?

  14. “……no side backs up its claim with pure facts unaccompanied by threats, implied or otherwise.”

    Really, Najib saying he will sue Sarawak report is perfectly acceptable as is taking legal action to stop alleged corrupt acts.

    The threats are closing down media organizations or the use of the sedition act or claims of anti Malay/Muslim rhetoric. And please refer me to links where UMNO has provided cogent rebuttals or facts against these allegations.

  15. Let’s be clear and not be distracted by threats, counter-threats, claims and counter-claims and got lost in the media mayhem created to divert attention from the real issues in 1MDB.

    Be very clear that Justo was arrested by the Thai authorities for BLACKMAILING the Saudis, and NOT for tampering or falsifying or faking emails which the people in 1MDB is trying to worm into this arrest as part of an UMNO controlled media-led ploy to lead people to think that Justo was the master-mind forger behind all the damaging emails implicating corruption, thievery, etc, etc, (with the philanthropic help of Jho Low), in 1MDB.

    Only people who are easily confused will swallow this ploy hook, line and sinker.

    If it was really true that all the damaging emails were faked or tampered with, what is the problem in exposing them, either by 1MDB or Jho Low who being so bloody rich could employ the best lawyers money could buy? And they have 6 whole months to do it.

    So all these chest-thumping threats about suing for this and that made by 1MDB and Zahid, et al, rings as hollow as the brains of some people.

    BTW, you can only blackmail someone with the truth which the “victim” wants hidden. So if all these emails were faked as subtly claimed or implied by 1MDB, then how could Justo blackmail anyone, especially people as rich and powerful as the Saudis?

    And why the Saudis want him arrested in Thailand and not in Saudi Arabia where they could behead him like they beheaded some poor helpless Indonesian maids who were brutally raped by their Saudi employers?

    Simple, these pious, god-fearing Saudis don’t want to wash their dirty white linen “Thobe” in full view of their equally pious, god-fearing Arabian countrymen.

  16. Truly can not see anything positive in this lost nation. The HM and IGP used and they are more than happy to be the bullies of the nation, issuing threats onto the opposition and the powerless rakyat.. These bullies have also become the “judge” that tells who is and is not guilty, no verdict needed by the court, the bolehland. The corrupt government is taking the nation towards the biggest disaster, possibly after Greece.
    Value of RM continued to go down, translating to higher inflation, and rising social problems. It may sound very gloomy, but this is not to far from reality.

  17. What are all these smokebombs, flashers and distractions, Dato?

    Let’s refocus….

    * 1MDB borrowed RM42 billion
    * 1MDB Bought RM14 billion in assets
    * where is the balance RM28 billion?
    * where are the desalination plants?
    * where are the oil & gas concessions?

    LKW or no LKW, we must remain focus and demand for simple answers to simple questions….

  18. Quote:- “we must remain focus and demand for simple answers to simple questions….”

    Would you answer these “simple” questions truthfully if by doing so you risk going to jail for a long long time?

    Najib may be mad, but not stupid.

  19. A nation that is infected by a virus called Najisnomic Virus .There is no known cure when infected by this virulent virus .All institutions already infected since 2006.
    1.) Mega Billions Corruptions.
    2) Cronyism.
    3) Contract out Assassinations or Farm out killing.
    4) Destroy evidences for wrong doing .Twist & Turn cover up
    5) Evasion of Taxes
    6) Money Laundering.
    7) Lop sided and half cook investigation or feckless .
    8) No complete conclusion or follow up
    The western experts on this virus is trying to find a cure but was stop from doing so

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