There was an afternoon of drama in Zurich this weekend when, following months of silence, the 1MDB whistleblower Xavier Justo stepped forward with his wife Laura to lay out their charges against those whom they claim conspired to entrap and imprison him in Thailand.
In a central location in the city they told a selected group of journalists the details of an astonishing plot to entrap and imprison him in Thailand, all in order to discredit the exposes over 1MDB
The couple had waited patiently before speaking out, they explained, in response to requests from the Swiss authorities to first pursue official investigations into the massive money laundering scandal and to make their preparations.
However, in a letter sent to their lawyer on 9th March, the Federal Prosecutor Alice de Chambrier, confirmed that a full investigation has now been officially launched into all thirteen of the couple’s criminal complaints made against three named individuals, Tarek Obaid, Patrick Mahony and Paul Finnigan. It means that these three and their alleged accomplices can be arrested and interrogated by Swiss law enforcers, much in the same way that they orchestrated for Justo to be arrested in Bangkok.
The list of thirteen charges laid against the three named individuals and by implication their collaborators, which include the Prime Minister of Malaysia referred to in the complaint, is jaw dropping. Moreover, it reflects everything that Sarawak Report has reported about the conspiracy to entrap Xavier Justo and get him imprisoned in Thailand, in order to attempt to discredit our exposure of the billion dollar 1MDB thefts.
After months of preparation, the Swiss federal prosecutors have now confirmed that they have adopted every single one of the charges that were originally levied by Justo, which means official law enforcers believe there are sufficient grounds to pursue accusations of:
Threat, blackmail, extortion, coercion, sequestration, endangering the life of others, slander, slanderous denunciation, misleading of the courts, bribery of foreign public officials, false misrepresentation of office, criminal organisation, money laundering [translated]
These charges are levied specifically against the Swiss based Saudi, Tarek Obaid and two British citizens, Patrick Mahony and Paul Finnigan. However, the charge sheet cites they refer as well “against any other named persons whose acts may be criminalised, in particular because of the ..offences”.
According to the statements made by Xavier Justo at his press conference today, those accomplices include the Swiss lawyer, hired by PetroSaudi to falsely misrepresent his case, Marc Henzelin, as well as several PR and ‘private investigators’ who assisted the PetroSaudi directors.
In particular Justo named a Swiss PR man named David Scholberg, who describes himself as CEO & Founder of KBSD Reputation & Cyber-Security, who he claims acted as an intermediary who paid lawyer Marc Henzelin CHF300,000 on PetroSaudi’s behalf in order to hide the connection.
Others named were another Swiss PR operator, Marc Comina, as well as the British company Protection Group International and its CEO Brian Lord. Lord was also flown to Thailand during the period of the arrest and made statements to the press claiming that his ‘cyber intelligence’ company had proof that Sarawak Report had ‘tampered’ with data provided by Justo from PetroSaudi’s database.
In fact, Justo revealed, it was PGI that presented false evidence to the Swiss authorities, claiming there was evidence of collusion between himself and Sarawak Report as long ago as 2011, three years before he had even heard of the blog. The Justos have now obtained supposed emails between Justo and Sarawak Report, which PGI claimed it had retrieved off discarded computer files. However, Justo says he can prove these are forged (a claim corroborated by the Editor of Sarawak Report, who had no idea of Justo’s existence before June 2014).
Likewise, Justo has produced documents and emails which show that although the Swiss high profile lawyer Marc Henzelin, claimed to be representing him in Switzerland and had publicly denied that he was engaged by PetroSaudi, the lawyer was in fact knowingly being paid by that company through Scholberg to ‘represent’ Justo against his own interests in the criminal proceedings, which had been initiated against him by PetroSaudi.
Also named and heavily implicated during this press conference and in the narrative and evidence supporting the charges was the Malaysian Prime Minister, quoted by Mahony as being the man behind their actions – the man who needed to be got off the hook.
Although followers of Sarawak Report and the 1MDB saga will already know much about the circumstances of Justo’s arrest, forced confession and imprisonment, the couple presented a swathe of new information and documentation at their press conference today. Attending were some of the Swiss journalists whom Justo says he was forced to misinform when they came to question him in jail back in 2015.
In return for a promise to set him free Justo told those journalists that he was blackmailed into incriminating himself and giving them false information.
Swiss PR man, Marc Comina, was flown to Bangkok to train him in the answers he must give before journalists were allowed to visit him in jail, including that the PetroSaudi 1MDB data had been tampered with.
Justo also says the journalists were also supplied with misleading ‘whatsapp’ conversations, consisting of print-outs of messages which were doctored to support PetroSaudi’s own claims that it was Sarawak Report that had tampered with evidence.
Comina had also arranged for the interview by PetroSaudi paid lawyer Marc Henzlin with the Le Temps newspaper, where Henzelin blamed Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown for plotting and telling lies over the data provided by Justo.
Justo was portrayed by Henzlin as a victim, not of PetroSaudi but of Clare Rewcastle Brown, portrayed as a plotter paid by the opposition. Today, Le Temps issued a new article explaining the deception outlined by Justo.
Producing evidence from their case for the astonished journalists, the Justos revealed emails that showed how Henzelin and Scholberg had been engaged and briefed on the plot well in advance of his arrest in Thailand.
In one email, passed on from Mahony to Scholberg and then Scholberg to Henzelin, in advance of Henzelin approaching Justo to be his legal advisor, the PetroSaudi director explained to the Swiss team that their prime job was to drum up PR support to promote their version of events in the newspapars (against Justo’s obvious interests):
“Unfortunately, a story about corruption is a better story than a mad former Prime Minister’s sister-in-law committing crimes to overthrow a democratically elected government, however this is the true story”
claimed Mahony in the forwarded briefing note. He added:
(Whatever you give them, please make sure my name is not on it)…. you should mention confidentially that there will be arrests in Singapore and the UK, so serious jurisdictions.“
By this Mahony is highlighting the fact that many people would be unconvinced by legal proceedings in Thailand, where he claimed several times to the Justos that he had bought up the relevant police authorities.
Laura complained that even before she was approached by her own so-called lawyer, Henzelin had been briefed by PetroSaudi on the supposed crimes committed by Justo and Sarawak Report. The couple have now drawn up a chart of connections between the web of operators hired by PetroSaudi. Justo says he was also forced to make incriminating remarks against people he had never heard of in his confession (including the secretary of Dr Mahathir and a British businessman), saying they had been involved in his supposed collaboration to ‘topple a Prime Minister':
The most pernicious aspect of the plot, as told by Justo, was the deceit that he was being assisted by a ‘Scotland Yard Detective’, sent out by the UK to investigat 1MDB. He had been brought into a room and introduced by the Thai Police to a former British policeman named Paul Finnigan, who was in fact retired and had nothing to do with the case.
Unknown to Justo, Finnigan was working with a UK company named Spy Games, run by a former SAS soldier called Dave Thomas, who had for years ‘run errands’ for Tarek Obaid.
Finnigan and Mahony explained to Justo that if he gave a confession that discredited Sarawak Report’s exposes of 1MDB then he would be released from prison. Otherwise, Mahony told Justo, PetroSaudi had the money and influence to keep him in jail for 9 years.
It was Finnigan who spent days on end dictating a ‘confession’ to Justo in perfect English and with all the correct legal terminology, which Justo told journalists he would never have been able to write on his own.
All this was done without a lawyer and Justor was forced by Finnigan to state on each page of the 11 page confession that he did not want a lawyer present.
Xavier Justo provided a written testimony to the selected journalists at the press conference, laying out his experiences in his own first personal account of what happened to him in Thailand (see below).
The account makes clear that the specific purpose of his imprisonment was to blackmail him and his wife Laura into cooperating in the discrediting of the information provided by the PetroSaudi data on 1MDB and to discredit Sarawak Report. In one text sent by Patrick Mahony to Laura Justo he wrote “She [Clare Rewcastle Brown] is the source of all our problems. She must be discredited“.
Disowning his earlier forced statements that he had been motivated only by greed, Justo said that he had attempted to receive some money only as retribution for what PetroSaudi’s directors had reneged upon in his severance deal. He has proof of the agreement to pay him CHF6.5 million he says, the reason being that far from being a lowly IT operative, he was in fact the number three director in the company and had supported its ventures for several years:
“I didn’t realise at the time that it [the 1MDB deal] as so big. They stole billions that should be for education, hospital and so forth, not yachts, prostitutes, parties and so on”, he said:
Thailand arrests and complaints in Switzerland [Xavier Justo]
Arrested in Koh Samui in June 2015 and transferred to Bangkok. The special forces commandos of the Thai police are waiting for me at the airport and transfer me with about ten cars to court.
I am introduced to the press, especially the foreign press, which had been notified in advance.
I am asking for bail, which was supposed to be the case for a minor offence according to lawyers (attempted blackmail), but it is denied.
After this refusal, I was escorted by commandos to the Bangkok Police Chief’s office, where Paul was introduced to me as a Scotland Yard inspector according to him.
This Paul tells me that he is here as part of an international cooperation between England, Malaysia and Thailand. He tells me to plead guilty and help the investigation by confessing whatever he wants.
I refuse because I’m innocent, he insists but I refuse. He’s telling the chief of police to transfer me to prison. I meet at night in cell 7 of the prison. It’s the worst of all, 50 people in 40 square meters.
I stay here for 2-3 days and then this Englishman comes to visit me. The visit takes place in an office of a prison official and not in the official visit room.
My fellow inmates are very surprised because that never happens. Even the police and judges visit the building reserved for these occasions.
He introduced himself as Paul Finnigan inspector of Scotland Yard, and again made me an offer by threatening me this time. He tells me if I collaborate I’ll do six months in better conditions.
Otherwise I’d be doing nine years under the current conditions. Now I have no choice and I accept his offer.
During the weeks that follow I have Patrick Mahony’s visit accompanied by Dave Thomas in the same private offices. He arrives accompanied by the police in charge of the investigation and the director of the prison.
Finnigan and Mahony come together and give me news of my wife according to them it’s too dangerous for her to come visit me but it’s just to keep me isolated away from everything.
Mahony explains to me during his visits that it is thanks to his contacts with the former premier of Thailand that he does what he wants. The company employing Mr. Mahony had participated in the financing of the Bangkok metro.
Mr. Mahony and Mr. Finnigan will confirm to me at each visit that it is Tarek Obaid who agrees with what they are doing and saying.
Mr. Obaid will provide us with a new identity with the collaboration of Scotland Yard when everything is finished, as well as financial support.
Mahony thanks to Malaysian leaders via Obaid has absolute access to the prison, police, and judges. He’s threatening me with years in prison and threatening to have my wife arrested if I don’t do everything he tells me.
I spend days and weeks writing false depositions with Finnigan where I am overwhelmed with everything and where I say I have seen or talked to people I don’t know.
I mainly have to accuse myself of blackmail on Thai territory so that justice can convict me, my confessions are in perfect English which is not possible for me to do except under dictation.
The official version is that I blackmailed Mr. Mahony at the Shangrila Hotel on our second date, so I give them an official reason to charge me.
They think it is in my interest to help, they want to help the Malaysian Prime Minister out of this situation. I must overwhelm journalist Clare Brown and the Malaysian opposition.
I must also find myself guilty of stealing computer data when I did not steal anything, as indicated to the Swiss justice I received them after my departure from Petrosaudi.
According to Mr. Finnigan and Mr. Mahony, what I’m doing to help Scotland Yard and Malaysia will allow me to get out in December, but I don’t have to tell the Swiss Embassy about it.
Mr. Mahony confides to me that they never repaid the loan, they found a solution to make the repayment appear as if made using different brokers to create fictitious instruments.
In any case, it was impossible for Petrosaudi to be able to repay the money they received. Tarek, Patrick, Turki, Low and Prime Minister’s Commissions
Once my statements are finished, they transfer me to a better cell and give me “bodyguards”, prisoners who are in charge of keeping an eye on me and preventing me from talking to Europeans.
I am then able to have private visits with my wife and son to the astonishment of the guards who tell me that they have never seen this in the history of the prison.
Mr. Finnigan comes to see me 2 days before the trial and we spend the whole day rewriting my statements so that they correspond to their desires.
The day before going to trial the head of investigation comes to get me to sign my messages whatsapp which have also been modified to suit their needs.
I would like to point out that my whatsapp messages were modified before they were broadcast because I only had a partial copy of my messages on paper and not in a telephone.
I am sentenced to 3 years in a 5-minute trial where nothing was said but simply where the sentence was read. The head of the investigation tells me that they will rewrite the papers to reduce the sentence.
In the strange events that occur during my detention I can point out the following points which show Petrosaudi’s willingness not to allow me to communicate or to be able to tell the truth:
I’m the only one of the 6,000 prisoners who needs the prison director’s signature to have a visit. If the director is not here I do not have a visit, the Swiss embassy can testify on this fact.
I am the only one who has guards to keep him from talking to some of the detainees and being able to communicate.
I can neither receive nor send mail, we have paid guards to pass letters.
I can’t go to my locker by myself, I’m accompanied and we check its contents.
I’m the only one who goes by private car and escorted when I go to court so that I can’t communicate with anyone, this is verifiable in the videos that have been published by Malaysian newspapers.
I have three interviews with journalists, one from Singapore and two from Switzerland. The Singapore journalist gave his questions in advance and I was given the answers.
The Swiss journalists had not provided their questions but Mr. Comina, who is a PR paid by Mr. Henzelin, prepared me for the questions they could ask me and what I had to answer.
I had to overwhelm myself and charge journalist Clare Brown and the Malaysian opposition and never talk about Jho Low or Najib Rezak, and say that I didn’t know Petrosaudi and 1MDB well.
Mr. Mahony and Petrosaudi paid my first Thai lawyer after the police made me give up my Koh Samui lawyer under false pretences.
This lawyer didn’t show up at the trial, someone else came and I’m unable to identify him. Mr. Mahony and Petrosaudi sent me a Swiss lawyer from Geneva, Mr. Henzelin of the Lalive law firm.
They not only chose the lawyer who had to defend me but also against all the practices in force, they remunerated him via one of their contacts, Mr. Scholberg and his company KBSD.
Mr. Henzelin was to defend me and negotiate the end of an arbitration procedure, but it was already almost settled. He just found me a Thai lawyer.
He was there as part of the deal promised by Mahony, Obaid and Finnigan. Collaborate and serve less than 6 months in prison.
Petrosaudi also paid my wife for airline tickets from Switzerland and hotel stays to keep her under control.
Me Henzelin brought me to Singapore against Mr. Tong, his partner and journalist Clare Brown. Me Henzelin gave up defending me and gave no sign of life.
The complaint in Singapore was made according to Mr. Mahony to give a bad image of Tong and Clare Rewcastle at the international level,
The complaint died out by itself in the second half of 2017, not without Mr. Tong having received 20,000. compensation paid by my lawyer in Singapore that I never saw again.
I would like to add that in January 2017, Me Henzelin acknowledged in front of my wife, myself and Me Crettol and Me Luescher that they had been manipulated by Petrosaudi and Mr. Mahony.
I had the Malaysian police visit in prison and the fifty or so questions with the answers I had to give were given to me in advance by Mr Finnigan and Mr Mahony.
Once again, the aim was to cover up the Malaysian Prime Minister and, above all, never to talk about Jho Low and to overwhelm journalist Clare Brown and the Malaysian opposition.
In November 2015, Mr. Finnigan and Mr. Mahony told me and my wife that in the end the agreement to release me in December will not be met and we are alone.
We appeal to the embassy to help us and make a request for an individual royal pardon with the support of the Swiss embassy in Bangkok.
Mr. Finnigan came to visit me one last time on this occasion and told me that according to the Bangkok Police Commissioner I would receive the royal pardon in May 2016. I’m asking him not to come to me again.
According to one guard, Mr. Finnigan’s last visit was used to clean up the traces of his visits to the prison.
I’m trying to get a message across to the embassy’s case manager that I have information on the Petrosaudi-1MDB case.
I don’t want to speak in the offices where I received the Malaysian police, Swiss and Singapore lawyers, Mr. Mahony and Mr. Finningan, he is only allowed to see me in private in May 2016.
I finally leave on the morning of 21 December 2016, accompanied by the special police commandos of the Thai police who are worried about a Malaysian intervention.
The evening before this release, the Thai secret services come to see me after visiting hours to ask me questions for 2 hours about Mr. Mahony and Mr. Finnigan’s visits to the prison.
He also asked me about the behaviour of the investigator who accompanied them several times. I tell him the truth and he makes me understand that an investigation would be under way.
Speaking to the reporters Laura Justo told them that she too had been held captive by the blackmailers from PetroSaudi and forced to do what they wanted in return for favours and threats to keep her husband in jail if she failed to cooperate.
Pictures of his baby. We had to beg PetroSaudi to give them to him.
she told reporters.
“Putting someone in jail to cover your money laundering and take complete advantage of a helpless man that was your friend is devilish and miserable, but to threaten a woman alone with her baby and play with her for 18 months. I don’t think you can be more sick than that and it tells you what kind of men they are. For example, they forced me to put an app on my phone to record Clare Rewcastle Brown to destroy her, by making a fake video distorting her words. Luckily they forgot they had given me the app and I later used it to record their own words to me, including their threats and bribes to make me cooperate in all their schemes.”
Also attending the press conference was their fellow Swiss citizen Pascal Najadi, whose father, the former Chairmand of AmBank was shot dead in KL, he believes because he tried to reveal secrets of Najib’s billion dollar bank account at the bank.
The Justos have revealed that they are writing a book together about their story. Meanwhile, the wheels of justice have started turning in Switzerland and the Justos look set to keep talking about 1MDB.