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Bangkok stitch up.

Recent research shows that last year an apparently senior Thai police chief (a CID Colonel) announced publicly that Swiss national Xavier Justo had been arrested on his patch and that British police officers had arrived to interrogate him about offences allegedly committed in London.

What he did NOT say was that no such officers had come to Thailand for that or any connected purpose. Still less that a British national claiming to have been a police officer in the UK and now a hire by day enforcer had been brought, at considerable expense, to Bangkok by the UK/Swiss oil company PetroSaudi to persuade, bully or trick M.Justo into making a confession that he had committed offences which he had not.

The method this “rent a detective” employed was the hoary old one that “if you say you did it you will get off with a nominal sentence. If you go on denying it we have bought all the necessary elements to ensure you will do nine years”

In other words a perversion of the old CID approach to a guilty person against whom the proof is thin. This “ex-Met” thug presumably picked up the technique while serving, or maybe just from a crime novel. Unfortunately for M.Justo he came accredited by his former employers and recommended by a smooth talking director of PetroSaudi, one Patrick Mahony, a former friend turned Judas for the occasion.

On top of this M. Justo had lived in Thailand long enough to know that everything, including senior police officers, are for sale when the price is right and his own consular officials had been gulled by Mahony into believing that he was a criminal deserving justice. So, banged up in a filthy Thai cell so packed with other prisoners that all had to sleep on their sides and received only a litre of water every twenty four hours, it is not surprising that M. Justo fell for the pitch.

In fact there was no evidence that he had committed any offence in Thailand and even in the corrupt local atmosphere a Court could not have convicted him. He made his false confession only because the “Scotland Yard” detective convinced him he would be freed. Instead he got three years. And, adding insult to injury, when, having qualified for return to Switzerland under an inter-governmental agreement, that was refused by the Thais on a pretext that was risible in its unreality and could only have been made after the Thais concerned had been richly bribed to manufacture it.

It might be asked why his former employers went to such lengths and at very heavy expense. Senior officials in Bangkok don’t come cheap. The answer is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, where the Prime Minister Najib Razak is directly and personally involved in vast thefts of public money; some of it through the State fund 1MDB from which he and his fellow criminals have stolen billions. Among his partners in this mega fraud were the same PetroSaudi which arranged to have M. Justo locked up in Bangkok.

On a recent visit there Najib took further steps to ensure that M. Justo would not be released nor allowed to serve the rest of his sentence in Switzerland as provided by the

Swiss/Thai inter-governmental agreement. The Thais had even more motive than the rattle of gold to influence them. They have a troublesome guerrilla war in their southern provinces which are largely inhabited by people of Malay extraction. Whenever the Thai forces close in these bandits simply cross into Malaysia where they receive official protection.

To be able to close off this ratline must have been just as attractive as stolen dollars and those concerned on the Thai side appear to believe that Najib will do what he promised to do! They will not be the first to learn that Najib never keeps his word, especially when he can back it up with stolen money.

This whole disgraceful episode highlights the dangers of visiting Thailand, let alone settling there. So it is relevant to ask why, knowing as they do the full disgraceful story, the Swiss authorities do not act to oblige the Thais to keep to the prisoner repatriation agreement or face very adverse publicity on the tourism front? A public explanation of their passivity is well overdue.

It also raised questions that the Metropolitan Police should answer. Did the “private detective” Paul Finnegan ever serve in the Met? If so why did he leave and under what circumstances? And if the Met altogether missed the whole affair now they know and must say what they are doing to clear their name. Over to you Sir double- barrelled.

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