PETALING JAYA: Swiss national Andre Xavier Justo, who recently received a royal pardon while serving time in Thailand for attempted blackmail in the 1MDB controversy, has opted to serve his remaining sentence in Switzerland.
Bangkok Post quoted his lawyer, Worasit Piriyawiboon, as saying that if paroled, Justo has to stay in Thailand and report to the authorities every month, until June next year.
However, Justo could also serve the remainder of his sentence of “about 10 months” in Switzerland, if the Swiss Government requests for his transfer, said the report.
It further said that Swiss authorities had confirmed making such a request under the bilateral agreement between Thailand and Switzerland on the transfer of prisoners.
Justo was earlier this week, granted the royal pardon in conjunction with Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 70 years on the throne and Queen Sirikit’s birthday.
This saw the 49-year-old former IT executive’s three-year prison sentence for attempting to blackmail his former employer, PetroSaudi International, which had dealings with 1MDB, commuted by one-third.
Justo, who was described as a “very good prisoner”, has already served one year of his sentence, and has another year to go.
He can either serve the remainder of his jail term on parole or be transferred to another prison, depending on the conditions stipulated in the royal pardon, said earlier reports.
The daily also quoted unnamed sources involved in the prisoner’s treaty process as saying that Justo may be released as soon as next month, due to “political will from all sides”.
According to the report, Justo is also wanted by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for its forfeiture lawsuits to seize assets purportedly bought with money stolen from 1MDB.
However, a source told the daily that the transfer would not benefit the US effort to unwind the international fraud.
Justo was accused of copying all of PetroSaudi International’s e-mails, and asked the company for a payment of USD2.5 million, failing which he threatened to release the data.
He approached Malaysian business daily The Edge to sell the data, when his former employer refused to entertain his requests.
Justo has since sued the owner of The Edge – businessman Tong Kooi Ong and two others – claiming that he was misled into surrendering the data but was not paid for it.