Malaysian access to Justo denied again

Malaysian access to Justo denied again

Swissman Xavier Andre Justo appears before the media on June 23, 2015, after being arrested at a house on Koh Samui. (Royal Thai Police photo)
Swissman Xavier Andre Justo appears before the media on June 23, 2015, after being arrested at a house on Koh Samui. (Royal Thai Police photo)

Malaysia's relentless campaign to gain access to a Swiss national accused of information leaks damaging to Prime Minister Najib Razak remains stalled after national police chief Somyot Poompunmuang rejected a fresh request on Thursday.

Pol Gen Somyot advised his Malaysian counterpart Khalid Abu Bakar in talks at the Royal Thai Police Office that Malaysia must use the proper channels, including the Office of the Attorney-General and the Foreign Ministry, for information about Xavier Andre Justo because he is not a Malaysian national.

The police chief repeated Thailand's position on no green light for Malaysian authorities to probe the Swiss man and reminded Mr Khalid that the police investigation into the case remained unfinished.

Mr Justo, 49, is accused of supplying information to Sarawak Report, a website based in London, that had alleged state fund misappropriation by Mr Najib. The allegation targeted 1Malaysia Development Bhd, a state development fund with the Malaysian prime minister as advisory board chairman.

Mr Najib has denied the accusations and blocked the website.

The meeting on Thursday was the second time in a week that Kuala Lumpur has sought Thailand's permission to get information directly from Mr Justo after the former executive of PetroSaudi International (PSI) was arrested at a house on Koh Samui in Surat Thani province on June 22.

Malaysian diplomats and police based at the embassy in Bangkok met Pol Gen Somyot with the same mission on July 16 and returned with the same answer.

Mr Khalid leads a team set up to attempt to interrogate the Swiss man, and he did not rule out seeking his extradition, Bernama reported on Monday.

"We are still waiting for a reply from the Thai police so that we can go there and record a statement from Justo. If possible, we want to go there as soon as possible because this is a major case and a detailed investigation is needed," the Malaysian official news agency quoted him as saying on Monday.

"The course of our investigation will determine if Justo's extradition is required or not," the Malaysian police inspector-general added.

Mr Justo is accused of attempting to blackmail and extort money from PSI. He is being detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison. Police cannot detain him beyond Aug 15.

Pol Gen Somyot said investigators will try to wrap up the case and forward it to prosecutors before the detention term expires.

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