KUALA LUMPUR: The chairman of The Edge Media Group, Tong Kooi Ong today denied knowing that data he obtained from former PetroSaudi International director Xavier Justo had been stolen by the Swiss national from his former employer.
“No one claimed their data was stolen,” Tong told the High Court when testifying in Najib Razak’s 1MDB criminal trial.
When reminded by Najib’s counsel, Shafee Abdullah, that Justo had spent 18 months in a Thai jail on blackmailing charges, Tong replied that he was unaware of the facts of that case.
Under cross-examination, Tong also denied paying Justo for the data.
Tong said Justo lost a lawsuit brought in Singapore against The Edge’s CEO Ho Kay Tat, Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown, and himself to recover payment for the data.
Cross-examined on his meeting with Najib at the former prime minister’s Langgak Duta residence on March 6, 2015, Tong denied that he had “misinterpreted” Najib’s actions in walking to the front door, and maintained that he was made to leave Najib’s home.
“He (Najib) always walks me to the door whenever I meet him,” Shafee said.
Admitting that he was not specifically told to “get out”, Tong said, “In my mind the gesture was not what you described. I was surprised by his actions. He stood up, walked to the door, and opened it.”
During his testimony last week, Tong told the court how he had suggested to Najib that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (commonly known as Jho Low) ought to be held accountable for the misappropriation of 1MDB money based on certain notes and the contents of Justo’s emails.
He said, at that point, Najib stood up, walked over to the door and made him leave.
Najib is standing trial on 25 counts of money laundering and abuse of power over the alleged misuse of 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion deposited into his AmBank accounts between February 2011 and December 2014.
The hearing continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah.