Open Letter To The Swiss Foreign Ministry In Bern

Dear [Name of official withheld],

We spoke on this matter earlier.  I am a journalist based in the UK and run a website called Sarawak Report.

I am concerned to learn of the situation regarding the welfare of a Swiss National, who has been arrested in Thailand on the basis of allegations brought by a Swiss and UK based company named PetroSaudi International, which alleges he is the whistleblower behind certain documents passed to myself and London’s Sunday Times newspaper.

The documents relate to PetroSaudi International’s involvement in a multi-billion dollar fraud against the Malaysian public development fund 1MDB.

The Swiss national, Mr Xavier Justo, is claimed by PetroSaudi in its press release to be still detained after two days in a Bangkok prison.

I strongly believe that this Swiss national is being made subject to revenge and harassment regarding a matter over which the Thai courts have no valid jurisdiction.

I am concerned that corruption and or the misleading of the Thai authorities are behind this malicious arrest.

News reports, which have been orchestrated by PetroSaudi in the Malaysian media but not appeared in Thailand or elsewhere, claim that items belonging to the arrested Swiss national Mr Xavier Justo have been seized.

I am therefore also concerned that this company is using undue and illegal influence to try to obtain these materials through a seizure by the Thai Police.

I did attempt earlier this year to present details of the fraudulent activities of PetroSaudi International to Swiss prosecutors, in order that they should be alerted over this criminal matter in good time.

We informed the prosecutors, through the services of a prominent anti-corruption lawyer, that I had evidence with respect to the money laundering of funds from the Malaysian development fund 1MDB, through named Swiss banks.

At the time the prosecutors responded they did not judge that my evidence was sufficient to proceed with enquiries.  However,  I now have in my possession some 3 million emails detailing this crime, in which PetroSaudi International was an engaged party.

PetroSaudi International have now effectively acknowledged that this material from their servers is authentic, by accusing this former employee of having stolen it – they describe him as an ‘IT worker’, but in fact he was a senior director of the company .

Nevertheless, according to the current news reports, they  are attempting to say that these emails were ‘tampered with’ and they are adding this to the list of ‘crimes’, which they are laying at the door of Mr Justo.

So far, PetroSaudi International have sequentially claimed the emails were “forged”, then that they were “hacked” and now that “stolen” emails were “tampered with”.

However, there is a mass of corroborative evidence to show that this Swiss/ UK based company was involved in the disappearance of nearly two billion US dollars of Malaysian public money that went to the company Good Star Limited, whose account resides at RBS Coutts Zurich.

Indeed, only a few days ago, Malaysia’s second Finance Minister publicly told the New York Times amongst others that Good Star was a subsidiary of PetroSaudi.

So, please could this claim be fully investigated by the Swiss authorities, since the bulk of its USD$1.9 billion haul from 1MDB went to Mr Taek Jho Low (who has nothing to do with PetroSaudi International but is a nominee of the Malaysian Prime Minister in charge of the fund) according to documents from the Singapore monetary authorities, which no one has yet chosen to deny.

Therefore, for the purposes of reporting and also out of concern for Mr Justo’s safety, I wish to know:

1) What information the Swiss Embassy in Bangkok can provide on the situation facing him at the moment.  Does he have access to a lawyer and is there any valid legal basis on which he is being detained?

2) I would also like to know whether there have been any proceedings in Switzerland or indeed warrants issued in that jurisdiction, which could have justified this act against Mr Justo over what is essentially a civil complaint on the part of PetroSaudi?

3) I also would like to know what actions are now being taken by the Swiss prosecutors to investigate this evidence of major fraud and money laundering, given that I and a Swiss NGO have already attempted to provide information on the subject, which is now being acknowledged as authentic information by PetroSaudi?

I am further aware that certain authorities in Malaysia have engaged with the relevant Swiss authorities about this financial crime, which also extends to Swiss banks in Singapore (I refer to BSI and RBS Coutts Zurich).

4) I would therefore be pleased to know why there has been no apparent action in pursuing this case in Switzerland and why I have not been contacted to receive this evidence, which I have already passed on to certain other international authorities interested in the pursuit of money laundering?

Please see these links regarding the arrest of Mr Xavier Justo:

And please see these links regarding my coverage of PetroSaudi:

and for further depth

I await a reply from the Swiss Foreign Ministry with utmost urgency given the gravity of the situation facing one of your nationals, whom I believe to have been wrongly arrested on false and malicious charges in a foreign country, which ought have no jurisdiction over this Swiss-based dispute.

I further request that Mr Justo is given all the protection due to a whistleblower in this situation and that proper steps are taken to investigate a grave financial fraud in which PetroSaudi International has played a major role.

And I demand that PetroSaudi should now be properly investigated in Switzerland for conspiring to perpetrate this malicious action against a former Director of their company, who apparently parted ways owing to his concerns over its corrupt practices.

In anticipation of an immediate reply on behalf of your citizen in captivity

Clare Rewcastle Brown

Your views are valuable to us, but Sarawak Report kindly requests that comments be deposited in suitable language and do not support racism or violence or we will be forced to withdraw them from the site.


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