BANGKOK: Thai police have arrested a former IT Executive of PetroSaudi International Ltd, and charged him with attempting to blackmail and extort the company, Thai media said yesterday.
Thai police chief Gen. Somyot Pumpunmuang told reporters that the Crime Suppression Division police had detained Xavier Andre Justo, a Swiss national, following the issuance of an arrest warrant by the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court.
Police have also searched his residence, seizing a computer and other equipment which they believe may have been used as part of the offense.
A former official of PetroSaudi International Ltd was arrested by Thai police and charged with attempting to blackmail and extort the company.
Police said Justo, who had fled to Thailand, was previously an executive at PetroSaudi.
The Saudi-based international company, that invests in the oil and gas industry, is best known in Malaysia for its former dealings with strategic investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)
Two years after he was dismissed from the Company, Justo allegedly attempted to blackmail and extort PetroSaudi for as much as 2.5 million Swiss Francs (approximately 10 million ringgit).
Justo threatened to release confidential business information, that he allegedly stole from the company, if his demands were not met. Following the attempted blackmail, various emails and documents appeared on a politically-motivated blog Sarawak Report, sparking a wave of allegations against 1MDB.
It has now been learnt that some of the emails and documents published on Sarawak Report were found to be tampered with, bringing into question the veracity of these allegations.
In a statement issued in Riyadh, PetroSaudi said it welcomed the arrest of Justo and that it would fully co-operate with the Thai authorities.
PetroSaudi also said it was considering further legal action in other jurisdictions.
“We are relieved that Mr Justo will now face justice through the courts. We have been the victims of a regrettable crime that has unfortunately been politicised in Malaysia,” a PetroSaudi spokesperson said.
“We are happy to finally set the record straight and we apologise to the Malaysian people for the harm that one of our unscrupulous ex-employees has caused to them,” he said.