Malaysiakini NEWS

'I showed tampered email, now show me yours'

Nigel Aw

Published:  |  Modified:

Sarawak Report editor-in-chief Clare Rewcastle Brown has challenged detractors who claim she had used tampered documents for her articles to show proof, just as she has done in response to a "confession" by a former journalist.

Rewcastle told Malaysiakini that she immediately published the email between her and former journalist Lester Melanyi, after the latter accused her of admitting to "forging" documents in their email correspondence.

"When Lester Melanyi ( right ) played around with an email I had sent, I immediately published the correct version, which exonerated me and shut him up.

"Why cannot PetroSaudi do that?" she asked.

Rewcastle was referring to allegations by the Malaysian authorities that she had used "tampered" documents from PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) for her articles that were critical of 1MDB.

This followed the arrest of former PSI director Xavier Andre Justo by Thai police for an alleged attempt to blackmail his former employers with threats of releasing confidential company documents.

Thus far, none of the other parties - 1MDB, PSI, Malaysian and Thai authorities – has detailed what exactly had allegedly been tampered with.

Why won't 1MDB come forward?

Rewcastle said if what Sarawak Report had published was untrue, the aggrieved parties should have provided evidence like she did to debunk Lester.

"If it was all completely untrue, how come PSI did not immediately come forward with 1MDB, Jho Low and all the rest to disprove it with their own factual evidence?

"It is a desperate ploy in the absence of these parties being able to bring forward any solid evidence to exonerate themselves, which would be plain and easy for them to do if they were innocent of the misappropriation of money that I have been pointing to," said Rewcastle ( right ).

She said that it was strange that Thai police are now taking a similar line about tampering after meeting with a delegation of Malaysian diplomats on Thursday.

"Certainly, in a properly governed country such matters would be left to the courts and if details of an investigation were being leaked in advance to a journalist in this way, it would be held as immediate contempt

"Which leaves me further convinced that this is all a public relations set up in which certain Thais are obliging certain Malaysians, but no court case is really envisaged," she said.

She noted that the Thai police too have not given any specifics on what exactly was tampered with.

Justo not only source

Rewcastle questioned how Thai police had veered to the question of tampering after claiming that they were investigating an alleged blackmail attempt.

Noting that Thai police had described the tampering as " small but important ", Rewcastle pointed out the PetroSaudi information was vast and any change would have led to inconsistencies in the overall picture.

"To have altered the PetroSaudi server documents into the mass of damning evidence against the company that I have published, from an alleged clean bill of health for all concerned would have required an enormous amount of tampering and distortion. 

"It would have needed industrial scale tampering and a complete re-working of the entire body of thousands of emails and events in order to change a supposedly innocent enterprise into a complex fraud on many levels, involving many different parties along the way," she said.

Rewcastle added that the information published on Sarawak Report was not the only source claiming misappropriation in 1MDB, as it also tallied with other sources in the public domain.

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