Justo: I survived Thai prison hell, won’t stop my fight for justice

KUALA LUMPUR: Swiss banker-turned-whistleblower Xavier Justo (pic) recalls his 18 months in a Thai prison as a truly traumatic experience.

“It was the hardest time of my life. It’s difficult to imagine that it was just in 2015. The conditions in Thai prison are not only immoral and inhumane, they should be illegal.

“I did fear for my life. For example, the building where I was located in Thailand housed 700 people, whereas in Europe you would have put a maximum of 100 people there.

“You don’t have beds, you sleep on the ground. The first cell where I was staying had 50 people using an open bathroom – one bucket of water and one basket. You did everything (there),” he told The Star here on Wednesday.

Justo was arrested, tried and convicted in Thailand for trying to blackmail Petrosaudi over stolen documents in 2015. Petrosaudi had formed a joint venture with scandal-ridden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in 2012, but the JV was later aborted.

Towards the end of his jail term, he was suddenly given the hope that he could be transferred to a Swiss prison.

“I had a deal that I was supposed to do a fake confession for very little jail time, but it did not happen,” Justo said.

“I was eligible to be transferred in September 2016, but the day of my release came and it didn’t happen.

“I was told that the Malaysian prime minister came to Thailand and persuaded them not to release me, and in fact tried to extradite me to Malaysia.

“In the end I was released when the Thai king died and his son, the new king, declared an amnesty,” he added.

The Malaysian prime minister at the time was Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is facing seven criminal charges over funds belonging to SRC International totalling RM42mil.

SRC International was formerly a subsidiary of 1MDB.

Najib also claimed trial on Sept 20 to 21 counts of money laundering involving RM2.6bil allegedly deposited into his personal account.

On Oct 25, he and former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah were slapped with six charges of criminal breach of trust involving RM6.6bil worth of government funds.

Meanwhile, Justo said that he is working on a book about his life.

“This is not a book about 1MDB. It will be a book about my personal experience, during my time in prison, what happened after I was released, the story of my wife’s suffering during that time.

“It will not be Malaysia-related, it’s something that we want to ride for our family,” he said.

While some may be tempted to forget all the traumatic events, Justo is determined to play a part in testifying against those who put his family through such difficult times.

“I have told the Malaysian authorities, I am willing to do my part. These people are criminals and we must hold them responsible.

“It’s not just the perpetrators themselves but the bankers and lawyers who enabled the scams to happen, and defraud the people of Malaysia,” he added.

Justo is here for the third time since the 14th general election in May that saw Najib ousted as premier.

Justo was a key speaker at the Anti-Corruption Summit 2018 organised by Transparency International Malaysia.
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