KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 — The three-year jail sentence against Xavier Andre Justo, a heavily tattooed Swiss IT expert, for corporate blackmail by a Thailand criminal court could spark criminal probes and lawsuits in Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
Justo pleaded guilty to the theft of huge amounts of corporate data from his former employer PetroSaudi International, information that became the source of an international media campaign against the Malaysian government over allegations of financial wrongdoings at 1Malaysia Development Berhad, a state-owned investment fund.
Lawyers and police sources in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur contend that the admission of guilt by the former PetroSaudi employee could expose those involved to numerous potential offences, including bribery, fraud, cyber security and computer crimes and money laundering.
The principal players so far identified in the Justo saga are Clare Rewcastle-Brown, founder of the London-based website Sarawak Report, and Tong Kooi Ong, the owner of Malaysia’s The Edge Media Group.
However, investigations by the Thai police revealed that several other influential political and business figures played key roles in the campaign to undermine the Malaysian government led by Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Police sources and lawyers also said that Justo’s confessions to the Thai police and evidence seized from his home in Thailand’s Koh Samui resort town could prove crucial in the ongoing investigations in Malaysia and trigger other actions in Singapore and the United Kingdom.
The Malaysian government has suspended publication of The Edge and blocked access to Sarawak Report.
Police are also investigating Brown, Tong and the CEO of The Edge, Ho Kay Tat, over allegations that the three personalities are part of a conspiracy to subvert democracy in Malaysia.
Lawyers and police sources said that Brown and Tong might have breached the Bribery Act in the UK as they are alleged to have conspired to bribe and induce Justo to sell stolen corporate data. They may have also breached the UK’s Fraud Act by allegedly knowingly acquiring stolen corporate data.
Lawyers and police sources said Tong, Ho and Brown may have also broken laws under Singapore’s Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act and the island state’s penal code for allegedly dealing in stolen property and for allegedly aiding and abetting a conspiracy.
Their actions may have also allegedly breached the Computer Crimes Act in Malaysia, while in Thailand, Brown, Tong and Ho could be charged with allegedly dealing with stolen property, lawyers and police sources said. — Bernama