Former PetroSaudi International executive Xavier Andre Justo has claimed he was offered US$2 million (RM7.6 million) by a prominent Malaysian businessman in exchange for the data he allegedly stole from the company.
In an jailhouse interview with Singapore’s Straits Times , Justo said Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown was involved in the ‘money for information’ deal, which he said was sealed in Singapore in February this year.
However, he said, he had yet to receive any payment after he handed over the PetroSaudi documents.
"I tried to open an account in Singapore, to have the money paid directly from (the buyer's) account, (but) DBS Bank refused, I don't know why.
"After that I opened an account in Abu Dhabi in my own personal name which was refused by (the buyer) because it had my name on it.
"Then I tried to use my company account in Hong Kong and he said the same, after that it was through a Luxembourg company and then again (the buyer) refused and after that Clare Brown took the lead," he told Straits Times in a small office inside the sprawling Bangkok Remand Prison.
After failing to agree on the best method to bank in the money, Justo said the buyer, whose name was withheld by Straits Times , offered to pay him in cash.
He claimed Rewcastle-Brown was to receive the US$2 million from the buyer and give him US$250,000 in cash every month, ostensibly for "consultancy services".
"So I was supposed to go to Singapore every week or every other week to receive an envelope with a few thousand or tens of thousands, and repeat this process for months until the final amount will have been paid. And again I refused.
"I don't know if she received the money or not, (because) I was arrested... I have no idea," he added.
According to Justo, he downloaded 90 gigabytes of PetroSaudi documents when he left the company in 2011.
He said he asked PetroSaudi for more money in 2013, beyond the huge compensation package he received when he quit his job, but they turned him down.
It was after this that he was introduced to Rewcastle-Brown, through a contact in Geneva.
He first met her in Bangkok at the Plaza Athenee Hotel and later in Singapore at the Fullerton Hotel, where she was with the others who were named in his confession following his arrest in Thailand last month.
Justo's damning revelations were part of a 22-page confession made to the Thai police. Straits Times said it had sighted a copy of the document.
Justo said his confession was collaborated by WhatsApp and email conversations he had with the group of buyers, who were named in the confession.
Thai police had earlier told Malaysiakini that they had obtained copies of the conversation from Justo’s mobile phone and laptop, which were seized during his arrest.
Rewcastle-Brown, when contacted by Straits Times , described the ex-PetroSaudi executive's confession as "bunkum".
"What I have presented on 1MDB and has been clarified by The Edge and corroborated by several other official sources is a coherent explanation of events, versus the dodging, changing stories of 1MDB," she said.
Malaysian financial newspaper The Edge had in an editorial note on Monday denied stealing or paying for the documents, and also declared it did not tamper with the information it obtained.
Justo is currently being held in the Thai prison after he being detained by police in the resort island of Koh Samui for alleged attempts to blackmail PetroSaudi.
Thai police have said they would soon be charging him soon and put him on trial in Bangkok.
The Malaysian government has repeatedly claimed that documents Justo leaked were tampered in its bid to dismiss stunning allegations against Prime Minister Najib AbdulRazak and the government-own investment fund 1MDB involving criminal breach of trust.