PetroSaudi Whistleblower Justo Gets Thai Royal Pardon

PetroSaudi Whistleblower Justo Gets Thai Royal Pardon
Photo Credit: reuters/達志影像

What you need to know

The pardon for a well-known whistleblower could see him become a star witness in the numerous investigations into Malaysian corruption being carried out around the world, commentators say.

Swiss national Andre Xavier Justo, who was sentenced to three years imprisonment for attempted blackmail of his former employer, PetroSaudi International, has received a royal pardon.

According to lawyer Worrasit Piriyawiboon, his client got the pardon in conjunction with Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 70 years on the throne and Queen Sirikit’s birthday.

“The announcement of the royal pardon was released in a Royal Gazette website last night. I checked with the correctional officer and he confirmed Justo’s name was on the list,” he told Bernama today.

The pardon meant that Justo, who has been described as “a very good prisoner” by the Thai prison authority, will have his sentence commuted by one-third.

Worrasit said that Justo has served one year of his sentence since he was found guilty by the Bangkok South Criminal Court last year. With the royal pardon, he has another year to serve.

He said the 49-year-old former IT executive would probably serve the remainder of his jail term on parole or be transferred to another prison, depending on the conditions stipulated under the royal pardon.

Justo was found guilty in Aug. 17 last year after he admitted to attempting to blackmail PetroSaudi International, which had dealings with 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The court ordered the jail term to start on June 22, the day Justo was arrested at Koh Samui resort island in southern Thailand.

He was charged under Section 338 of the Thai Penal Code which carries a jail term of one to 10 years and a fine of between 2,000 baht (US$58) and 20,000 baht.

The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article. The piece was first published on Malaysiakini.

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First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole