KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — Sarawak Report used information obtained from a former Petrosaudi International (PSI) executive to forge additional documents implicating Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a scandal at 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), claimed a former journalist.
Former Sarawak Tribune editor Lester Melanyi, who last week accused the whistleblower website of forgery, also claimed to have met ex-PSI director Xavier Andre Justo “two, three times” in London between 2012 and 2013, and was convinced that the latter was not capable of blackmailing his former employer.
In a second video posted on the “Friends of BN” Facebook page, Lester added that all Justo did was share some information on PSI for free with SR editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown during those meetings, which he accused SR of using to spin into “juicy” stories.
“He cannot be a criminal and to say he blackmail(ed) PetroSaudi, it’s too hard to believe and that he tampered the emails... definitely not true,” Lester said in the 5-minute-and-35 second video.
“Because I know he told Clare 10 per cent (of) what is happening and another 90 per cent are all created by the Malaysian people (sic) opposition. He did not tamper it,” Lester added, referring to the documents allegedly doctored by SR.
Lester, who claims to have been an SR representative in Sarawak at one time, further alleged that a London-based web designer was responsible for the alleged document forgeries under Rewcastle-Brown’s guidance.
“This guy is working part-time in BMF and he was instructed of course by Clare what to do, what to write,” he said, referring to the Bruno Manser Fund.
The BMF is a Swiss-based organisation named after the environmental and human rights activist who went missing in 2000 in the jungles of Sarawak. The BMF has been a staunch critic of former Sarawak Chief Minister Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, who they accuse of having committed rampant human rights abuses and corruption.
“The web designer in London is very good in doing it. If you ask him to create money, he can create fake money for you and (it) may look genuine,” Lester added.
Thai police arrested Justo on June 22 on charges of blackmailing PSI, an international company based in Saudi Arabia linked to the 1MDB financial scandal. Following the alleged sale of the documents, several emails and documents were published by the Sarawak Report news portal that led to allegations against 1MDB.
Lester had claimed in an earlier video that he stopped working for SR last year because he refused to be part of a mission to forge 1MDB documents to depict Najib as the recipient of US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) from the state-owned firm.
He, however, admitted to Malay Mail Online last Thursday that he was paid to expose a conspiracy involving Malaysia’s opposition, SR and its UK-based founder Rewcastle-Brown in their alleged plot to unseat Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak through so-called doctored leaks of documents on 1MDB.
Rewcastle-Brown has consistently denied forging documents for SR’s exposés on 1MDB, criticising her Umno critics instead for having so easily bought by the unverified news.
In an email interview earlier, she claimed that Lester is not a credible source, labelling him a “known liar and debtor” in Kuching.
Rewcastle-Brown also denied Lester had worked for her website, although she admitted to paying him a “few ringgit” once for helping provide an unrelated story.