The Edge media group owner Tong Kooi Ong has admitted misleading former PetroSaudi International executive Xavier Andre Justo with regard to payment for 1MDB-related documents.
However, Tong said, said this was done to secure the required evidence.
"Yes, we misled him. But that was the only way to get hold of the evidence to expose how a small group of Malaysians and foreigners cheated the people of Malaysia of US$1.83 billion (RM6.97 billion).
"His statement confirmed what we have said earlier i.e. we never paid anyone," he added in a media statement.
Tong, who is being investigated under Section 124 of the Penal Code for activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy, was responding to an exclusive interview with Justo ( photo ) published in the Straits Times of Singapore.
However , The Edge owner denied Justo's allegation that there was a plan to tamper with the documents to topple the government.
Below is the full statement issued by Tong:
We refer to the story in the Singapore Straits Times in which Andre Xavier Justo accused us of not paying him what we said we would for the information he gave us on the scandalous 1MDB-PetroSaudi joint venture.
First off, we must say the Singapore Straits Times journalist must be very well connected to be given access to Justo in his Bangkok jail. Even our Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, who is now in Bangkok, has so far been refused access to Justo.
We wonder which powerful hidden hand arranged for Nirmal Ghosh of the Straits Time s to meet Justo so that he can launch an attack on us?
Justo is obviously an angry man, and undestandably so, as we did not pay him what he wanted.
Yes, we misled him. But that was the only way to get hold of the evidence to expose how a small group of Malaysians and foreigners, cheated the people of Malaysia of US$1.83 billion. His statement confirmed what we have said earlier i.e. we never paid anyone.
As for Justo's allegations that we told him we intended to tamper the documents and that our objective was to bring down the government, surely if we had such intentions we would not tell it to someone we were meeting for the first time. All the more so, when we know he will be upset with us because we will eventually not pay him what he wants.
There was no tampering because we immediately did a digital fingerprint of the hard disk that contained over 400,000 emails and documents and secured it. What is in the discs we have given Bank Negara Malaysia, the police and MACC this week is the exact copy as the one Justo passed to us and he has said he did not do any tampering.
Furthermore, the money trail we have put together and passed to investigators showing how money from 1MDB were moved into the accounts of various people at several global banks in several countries can be easily verified by investigators with help from their counterparts in this country.
Justo is understandably a bitter man. But this is not about Justo, neither is it about us.
It’s about a scheme to cheat the people of Malaysia of US$1.83 billion through the 1MDB-PetroSaudi joint venture.
The fact that so many government agencies are now investigating 1MDB and that it is now almost an insolvent company that needs to be bailed out validates all the work The Edge Media Group has done to expose what had happened.
We have done nothing wrong and we are here to assist investigators, unlike some who seem to have disappeared.
Tong Kooi Ong
The Edge Media Group