Xavier Justo and his wife Laura have brought out their personal account of what happened to them during the frantic attempts to cover up the 1MDB scandal by ex-prime minister Najib, his aide Jho Low and their co-conspirators from PetroSaudi (directors Tarek Obaid and Patrick Mahony).
Their book which they call a Rendezvous with Injustice is now available on Amazon and will be in KL bookstores by the end of the month. It details the shocking duplicity, cunning and lies indulged in by this nefarious group behind the world’s largest theft as they deployed their stolen money to buy up the Thai justice system and numerous professional helpers mainly from Switzerland and the UK.
All of these bought players proved willing to dump what respectability and morals they might once have had to lend their names to a lie in return for cash. That lie, as many Malaysians will surely recall, was the claim that the whole data dump provided by Xavier Justo, detailing how Jho Low and PetroSaudi siphoned most of the money from the original 1MDB ‘joint venture’, was a fraudulent plot to unfairly discredit Najib.
Yes, the money may have disappeared and was unaccounted for but the entire process had been legal and the thousands of documents proving how everything was stolen were in fact forged by the editor of this Sarawak Report blog.
This was the lie behind the attempted cover up, at least, now thoroughly disproven by the courts. Xavier and Laura lived the consequences of that lie.
People may think they know and remember what happened through that protracted period from early 2015 to mid-2016 as these conflicting narratives sought to gain the upper hand. However the human toll behind the plot and the new information on the staggering lengths to which the deceivers proved willing to go make for a gripping and informative read.
The bubble burst after the FBI and Department of Justice finally made public their investigations into 1MDB in June 2016, but by then Xavier had already languished in a Bangkok jail for over a year, having been bullied into a forced confession and denied a proper trial. Thanks to continuing pressure from the Najib government it would be another six months before he finally gained his freedom.
We learn that he was the only prisoner in the history of the FBI to whom that organisation had been denied access by a friendly country, such was the power of the Najib government, Jho Low’s powerful business contacts and their stolen money over Malaysia’s neighbour at that time.
The couple narrate how that experience unfolded for them as they became naively caught up an increasingly desperate conspiracy framed by the 1MDB crooks they had exposed to blame the whistleblower and the media (specifically Sarawak Report and The Edge).
The couple write the book together, alternating chapters to describe their experiences after they were parted just following the birth of their first child thanks to Xavier’s arrest. His account comes from the inside of one of the world’s most notorious prisons and hers details how she was desperately seeking to get him out.
It is heart-stopping and often heart-breaking to follow their ordeal through the crisply written pages. The book is a swift read and does not linger overly on the wider details of the immense scandal 1MDB turned out to be. You learn most of what you need to know about the players around Najib through their actions in this fundamentally human story about what they did to the man who exposed their sins.
As Laura points out, why would these players have indulged in such an elaborate plot to jail Xavier, extract a false confession to say he was guilty of blackmailing them over a crime they didn’t commit and then throw away the key if they had been innocent? Why not just prove their case in a court of law?
The astonishing lengths that these guilty and desperate men were prepared to go to astounded even their victims, Xavier and Laura, who took some while to understand just how deep and devious the plot to defame and discredit the evidence against them ran. The couple believed for several months that if they cooperated with the men from PetroSaudi and their army of hired hard-men, lawyers and PR operators then Xavier would be released.
However, they were gradually bit by bit, clue by clue brought to understand the truth. One of the most shocking details is the revelation that the top Swiss lawyer supposedly representing Xavier was in fact being paid by PetroSaudi secretly through a Swiss PR firm they had hired.
The same top lawyer then engaged with journalists and other PR organisations to promote the false narrative that Xavier fully admitted he was guilty of an outlandish greedy blackmail plot using forged and stolen date – and that PetroSaudi were the innocent victims in the affair.
In fact, the clear conflict of interest was evident from the start – Sarawak Report wrote at the time that it was obvious that the real client and entity paying for this narrative was PetroSaudi itself, not the penniless Xavier Justo trapped in a Bangkok jail.
Challenged later, the lawyer, Marc Henzelin a senior partner of Lalive, claimed he had been ‘manipulated’ by Mahony and Obaid. One could surmise that he had in fact worked on behalf of the client who had paid him, not the defendant in the same case whom he officially represented.
That there has been no reprimand or action taken by his profession for allowing himself to be ‘duped’ in such a way remains a stain on the Swiss legal establishment and its regulators.
It took an entire year before Laura, convinced at last that Mahony’s promises he was trying to secure Xavier’s release were false, once again picked up the phone to Sarawak Report to reveal what was going on and why Xavier had falsely confessed to a barrage of untruths.
In the meantime, the couple had observed from the inside the horrendous corruption and arbitrary injustice of the prison system in Thailand which the conspirators had bought up at the highest levels and the appalling level of lies that ‘security professionals’ hired from western countries were prepared to endorse to enjoy their share of the same loot.
To this day the key plotters, Patrick Mahony (who flew personally several times to Bangkok to meet with and manipulate confessions out of Xavier from within the jail – despite being the plaintiff in his case) and his debauched Saudi boss Tarek Obaid remain free men.
There is a string of crimes for which they are being investigated in Switzerland and their criminal cash has now largely been frozen by the international courts. Yet, thanks to their money which has bought endless delays (and which has ended up in such interesting places as the business of the known best friend of the former Swiss AG) it seems the matter never comes to a resolution as the clock creeps towards the statutory time limits on the case.
Just as deplorable is the lack of action in the UK against a former Metropolitan police office who posed as ‘Scotland Yard detective’ sent by the British government to manage Xavier’s case in Thailand – complete with a fake ID.
His name is Paul Finnegan and despite three police reports nothing has been done. Likewise, the ex-UK SAS officer, Dave Thomas, who illegally sought to record and misrepresent the editor of Sarawak Report as part of an online defamation campaign. And, let’s not forget the former deputy head of the UK government security agency GCHQ who likewise took a pay cheque for falsely claiming in a Bangkok press conference and elsewhere that he had scientifically proven that the whistleblowing material gained from PetroSaudi’s database published by Sarawak Report was forged and tampered with. It wasn’t.
The GCHQ man was later convicted for sexual harassment and the Metropolitan Police is currently under the spotlight for failing to take action against rapists in its ranks, let alone one who became an imposter involved in a massive fraud to extract false confessions. The detail on how this man operated is shocking.
It is therefore clear to see that the Justo’s story may be about the plight of just one couple but, as with so many whistleblowing accounts, it shines a light on the faults and corruptions of our wider institutions and the corrosive danger of allowing those in power to turn a blind eye to the transgressions of those with money.
The 1MDB scandal will not be over until these injustices are dealt with. To supplement their book the Justos have opened a website where they have uploaded previously unavailable documents relating to 1MDB and the Swiss based cover-up designed to shift blame onto the whistleblower before locking him in a Bangkok jail and throwing away the key.