Ex-Petrosaudi exec Justo meets with Dr M

Justin Ong
Justo was a key player in the early days of the 1MDB scandal. — Reuters pc

KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — Andre Xavier Justo who was convicted and pardoned in Thailand for attempted blackmail related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) posted a picture of him and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today.

The former Petrosaudi International executive posted the image on his Facebook page and state the location as “Kuala Lumpur”.

“What a great privilege and what an incredible moment,” Justo wrote as the caption.

Justo was arrested, tried and convicted in Thailand for attempting to blackmail Petrosaudi over a stolen cache of documents in 2015.

He had also been a key player in the early days of the 1MDB scandal, when he sought to sell the same cache to a local news organisation whose subsequent reports based on the documents caused it to be suspended by the Home Ministry.

Petrosaudi and 1MDB entered an abortive joint venture in 2012 for which the Malaysian firm still paid the former US$700 million (RM2.7 billion). Justo’s documents, which he tried to sell for US$2 million to the Malaysian outfit, were believed to be linked to that deal.

Justo called his meeting with Mahathir a 'great privilege'. — Instagram pic

He was granted a royal pardon in conjunction with late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 70 years on the throne and Queen Sirikit's birthday in 2016.

Justo reportedly sought to serve the remainder of his sentence in Switzerland, but Thai authorities rejected his request.

His arrival here comes ahead of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s questioning on Tuesday by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Once taboo in Malaysia, 1MDB is now the subject of a full-scale investigation by the police and other government agencies acting on the instructions of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Najib continues to maintain his innocence in the 1MDB corruption scandal.