KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 ― Business paper The Edge said today that it will no longer refer to the emails it had published on dealings between 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and PetroSaudi International (PSI) amid doubt over the authenticity of the documents after a former top PSI executive was arrested.
The Edge pointed out, however, that no one had challenged the authenticity of the emails and that the paper had offered their assistance to the authorities investigating 1MDB, including passing them whatever information they had
“What is a fact is that the emails ARE NOT the source of 1MDB’s problems,” The Edge said in a statement published on news portal The Malaysian Insider that is owned by the The Edge Media Group.
“That lies elsewhere and, hopefully, we can get to the bottom of it through the various ongoing investigations. Nonetheless, we will defer to the Home Minister and will not refer to the emails again in any of our reports until the air is cleared about them,” the paper added.
The Edge also stressed that they were not cavalier and that they published what they believed to be authentic after “very careful” consideration.
“As a media company, we are guided by the principle that we are here to serve the public interest. And with over RM40 billion of public money at stake, 1MDB and its struggles to service its massive debts is the single most important public issue we face today,” said The Edge.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Wednesday that the authorities will investigate The Edge for allegedly publishing unverified news on 1MDB’s US$1.2 billion aborted joint venture with 1MDB that fell through in 2009, after Xavier Justo was arrested by Thai police Monday and accused of attempting to extort 2.5 million Swiss francs (about RM10 million) from PetroSaudi over the release of purportedly incriminating documents.
Umno-linked daily New Straits Times reported Tuesday an anonymous source from cyber security firm Protection Group International as saying that the leaked documents on the deal between PetroSaudi and the state investment firm had been doctored.
Zahid has also said after receiving a report on the arrest from their Thai counterparts that included forensic analysis of the leaked data, the Malaysian authorities concluded that the documents had been tampered with in a bid to tarnish the joint venture.