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Extortion Thai court sentences Swiss man to 3 years for blackmail

The accused Swiss was reported to have confessed to his crime

(Keystone)

A former executive at the Geneva branch of oil and gas company PetroSaudi International Ltd, was sentenced to three years imprisonment on Monday after pleading guilty to blackmailing his former employer. 

Xavier Justo, a Swiss national who quit PetroSaudi International in 2011, allegedly possessed compromising information which he wanted to hand over in return for $2.5 million (CHF2.44 million). He was arrested in June on the island of Koh Samui, where he was living at the time. 

According to an official of the Bangkok criminal court, “he was sentenced to six years in prison, however the sentence was reduced to three years as he pleaded guilty.” 

Thai police revealed that the 49-year-old Geneva native had met a representative of PetroSaudi at a Bangkok hotel where he made his demand for money. The company brought this to the attention of the police. It is still unclear what compromising information the Swiss had in his possession, if any. 

As of now, it is not known if the alleged confidential documents are linked to Malaysia's investment fund 1MDB, which is being investigated for graft after leaked documents including a deal between 1MDB and PetroSaudi were released in the media. 

“We have been the victims of a regrettable crime that has unfortunately been politicised in Malaysia,” said a PetroSaudi spokesperson in June after Justo’s arrest. 

Both PetroSaudi and 1MDB said they were fully cooperating with the Thai investigation.

 

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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