A SWISS whistleblower jailed in Thailand for blackmailing his former employer in a case linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal will be among the thousands of prisoners pardoned by King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Andre Xavier Justo’s lawyer disclosed Tuesday that his client met the condition for his release from prison after receiving the latest royal pardon, which was published in the Royal Gazette on Sunday.
“Yes, Justo will get the royal pardon… He met the condition for his release… as he has less than one year of his jail term,” Worasit Piriyawiboon told Malaysia’s Bernama news agency today.
The Swiss national is expected to be released from prison in three to seven days after the announcement of the pardon.
The new king issued a decree granting pardons to 150,000 prisoners, including some jailed under one of the world’s toughest laws against royal insult, in commemoration of his ascension to the throne after the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, on Oct 13.
Worasit told Bernama he believes Justo will be able to celebrate Christmas with his family.
“He (Justo) is expected to be released from jail before Christmas and I think he will be able to celebrate Christmas with his family in Switzerland,” his lawyer said.
Worasit was also quoted by the news agency as claiming that foreign prisoners who received a royal pardon like Justo, would likely only be freed after Thai prisoners are released.
The Bangkok South Criminal Court found the ex-Petrosaudi International employee guilty in August last year after he admitted to blackmailing his employer who had dealings with 1MDB, the Malaysian firm at the center of a multi-billion dollar scandal.
In August this year, Justo received a pardon in conjunction with Thailand’s Queen Sirikit’s birthday and late King Bhumibol’s 70-years on the throne. The pardon was, however, for his sentenced to be reduced. With that pardon, he was allowed to only serve one-third of his three-year prison sentence.
Justo became a household name in Malaysia after he gave whistleblower website Sarawak Report documents alleging financial impropriety involving Petrosaudi, 1MDB and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who started the state-owned fund in 2009.
Malaysian daily The Edge also ran extensive reports alleging Malaysian businessman Jho Low and PetroSaudi International had cheated Malaysia of US$1.83 billion in cash through an aborted joint venture with 1MDB in 2009.