The Edge chairman Tong gives Justo RM8.2mil

PETALING JAYA: The Edge media group chairman Datuk Tong Kooi Ong has paid whistleblower Xavier Justo US$2mil (RM8.2mil), saying it was a “gift” for his assistance in exposing the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) controversy.

According to a report by The Edge in its online edition, the sum was paid to Justo on Thursday (Jan 31), when he and his family met with Tong and group publisher Ho Kay Tat.

“The gift to Justo is in appreciation of his contribution to Malaysia in helping to expose the kleptocracy of the past government,” Tong was quoted as saying.

“Without him, the wrongdoings involving 1MDB, as exposed by The Edge, would not have come to light,” he added.

Tong, in thanking Justo on behalf of Malaysians, said that the Swiss whistleblower’s family was harassed and intimidated while he was in a prison in Thailand, adding that “no one should have to go through what he had to endure for helping to reveal the truth”.

“I would also like to add that Justo has confirmed to me that the accusation that he stole the data is untrue. My lawyers had tried to reach PetroSaudi on their past claims and they had chosen repeatedly not to respond.”

Justo expressed his gratitude to Tong.

“I would like to say thank you to Tong. The gift from him will go a long way in helping me and my family rebuild our lives.

“I take comfort (from the fact) that I have not suffered in vain. Malaysians got to learn the truth (about 1MDB) and I eventually got my freedom back,” he said.

In 2015, Justo was quoted by Singapore’s The Straits Times as saying that he was promised US$2mil in exchange for data he had on his former employer PetroSaudi International.

Justo also claimed that The Edge had told him of its plans to tamper with the documents with an objective to topple the then Barisan Nasional government.

On July 24, 2015, Tong issued a statement admitting he had misled Justo, arguing that it was the only way to obtain evidence on how a “small group of Malaysians and foreigners” had cheated Malaysians of US$1.83bil (RM7.5bil).

Tong then claimed that Justo was an angry man because “we did not pay him what he wanted”.

Tong also denied that The Edge had any intention to tamper with the documents, saying the media group had done a digital fingerprint of a hard disk that contained over 400,000 emails and documents.
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