Speaking at the Anti-Corruption Summit 2018 in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 30 October, Swiss whistle-blower and former PetroSaudi executive Xavier Justo said that the risks he took in exposing the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal were worth it and that he would do it again if it were necessary.
With one exception. “If I had to do it again, I would do it again. Except this time, I would protect my family,” he said, in spite of the fact that Justo had been threatened with bodily harm and was incarcerated for a year and a half in Thailand for leaking PetroSaudi documents.
He was arrested at home on the island of Koh Samui on June 22, 2015, stemming from a complaint that officials from PetroSaudi accusing Justo of attempting to blackmail the company for 2.5 million Swiss francs (S$ 3.45 million) due to documents he had taken from PetroSaudi. He, along with thousands of foreign prisoners, was granted a royal pardon in December 2016, by King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun of Thailand.
Justo had spoken on “The Battle Against Ill-Gotten Money: What More Needs to be Done” at the summit.
He said that he had wished his wife and son had not suffered so much due to his choices, the effects of which are still felt at present. “Today, I still cannot open a bank account under my name,” he said.
But he has no real regrets for having exposed the scandal. “For me, the whistle-blowing started the day I met a few courageous journalists… their explanation on how the corruption in 1MDB worked convinced me that handing over all the information I have in my possession is the only thing to do, the right thing to do.”
And that he stands before his son unashamed. “The pride of being able to explain one day to my son who is his father and what he really did is a future reward that I look forward to discovering. This experience has an expensive price but it is worth it.”
He is also thankful for how the Malaysians have welcomed him and he vows to stand with them in the fight to see justice done.
“The incredible support of my loved ones encounters with people unknown before and who have shown incredible devotion, the best part is the welcome I receive in Malaysia.
Our struggle will not stop until they are punished, what they did to us and what they did to you cannot go unpunished. It is a battle that we are fighting with you.”