PETALING JAYA: Despite being framed, threatened and imprisoned in Thailand for 18 months for leaking Petrosaudi documents, Swiss whistleblower Xavier Justo said he would risk his life to expose the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal all over again.
"If I had to do it again, I would do it again. Except this time I would protect my family," Justo said at the Anti-Corruption Summit 2018 on Tuesday (Oct 30).
The former Petrosaudi International executive said his wife and son suffered immensely over his whistleblowing, and their lives continue to be affected by his actions.
"Today, I still cannot open a bank account under my name," he said.
However, he said he is proud that he followed his conscience to expose the injustice.
"For me, the whistleblowing started the day I met a few courageous journalists … their explanation on how the corruption in 1MDB worked convinced me that handing over all information I have in my possession is the only thing to do, the right thing to do.
"The pride of one day being able to tell my son who is his father … this experience have a very expensive price but it was worth it," he said.
Justo said that often it is the families of whistleblowers who pay the biggest price, but he urged members of the public to follow their moral compass in voicing out against such crimes.
"Acting against criminals can be very dangerous. They will do everything to keep the money. They have no limits, I am witness," he said.
"It (whistleblowing) was not a difficult choice to make, we all have moral value in us. Some choose to ignore them to satisfy the desire for money and comfort, but others - and I think it is the majority - would choose value against greed," he said.
He said his family is together with the Malaysian people in the fight to bring those responsible in the 1MDB scandal to justice.
"Our struggle will not stop until they are punished, what they did to us and what they did to you cannot go unpunished," he said.
"It is a battle that we are fighting with you," Justo added.
Justo also slammed the financial sector for allowing banks to become a tool for criminals to launder money.
He alleged that banks, such as the ones involved in the 1MDB scandal, failed in their responsibilities to verify the legal origins of the money.
"The banks' purpose is to make money and managers receive bonuses for new business they bring in," he said, adding that they had "kept their eyes closed" to corruption.
"As long as this profession has no responsibility then criminals can continue with their activities," he said.
Justo is a key figure in the entire 1MDB saga and it is the information he shared with Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown which sparked off investigation into the fund in multiple countries worldwide.