The reclusive Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, has always maintained that he did not have any part to play in either 1MDB or PetroSaudi International, both integral parts of the 1MDB mega scandal.
But Swiss whistleblower Xavier Andre Justo says he met Jho Low not once, but twice, to discuss matters between 1MDB and PetroSaudi International.
It has been already revealed that from an initial US$1bil (RM3.9bil) that was wired to PetroSaudi, US$700mil (RM) was sent to an account owned by a company called Good Star, which investigation papers showed was controlled by Jho Low.
Justo, in an exclusive interview with The Star at a hotel here, said: “I met him twice. I have told the Swiss authorities the details.”
Justo, who broke open the can of worms that would become Malaysia’s biggest ever scandal, said he first suspected something was amiss when he realised that large sums of money were being transacted and that PetroSaudi was making enormous commissions.
“(PetroSaudi’s top officials) Tarek Obaid and Patrick Mahony had access to the real numbers, but I knew something was wrong.
“There are commissions in the oil business. That’s the way it is and there is no need to be naive. Oil business means corruption.
“It is something to take 1% or 5%, but it is something else to take more than 80% of the amount in commission. I knew that something was wrong, but I wasn’t expecting this madness,” Justo said.
He added that he was shocked at how the scandal had grown.
From PetroSaudi, the scandal spread to other companies in the Middle East.
“It is unbelievable how greedy, how insane, how mad those people are. They really thought that whatever was in the central bank of Malaysia was theirs.
“‘So, we need a billion. Just open the safe. We need three more billion. Let’s issue a bond against some fake collateral. We need more. Let’s do that.’ They really thought that this Malaysian money was their own money,” he said.
Justo said he held the files from PetroSaudi that were given to him because he wanted money that was owed to him by the company.
Those files, when released, sparked an investigation into the largest corruption scandal in the world.
Justo said he gave the files to the owner of The Edge Communications Tong Kooi Ong through Clare Rewcastle Brown after being convinced of their sincerity and motivation of wanting to reveal the 1MDB scandal.
“They explained to me how this 1MDB corruption machine was working.
“At the beginning, of course I said I wanted money. I could have sold these files for a lot of money. I just wanted the money owed to me by PetroSaudi.
“I just want all of them, starting from the first to the last, to be punished for their crimes.
“It’s not only about the money they stole. Yes, it’s very bad because this money was supposed to go to (things like) children’s education and healthcare instead of luxury bags, boats, jets and prostitutes. This is a financial crime.
“They also did worse than that. They killed people. They threatened people. They sent me to jail. They threatened my wife with arrest.
“They warned my wife that my son would end up in a Thai orphanage. They have to pay for that,” he said.
Justo said the only thing he knew about the Najib administration was that it was complicit in sending him to a Thai jail for three years.
“Mr Patrick Mahony, on the authorisation or the direction of people of your government, and with the collaboration of your government, went to see me inside the prison,” he said.
“I’ve never been convicted of anything. I was a banker and quite a successful one. I didn’t need this, but it happened, so if people think I am a bad guy, so be it.
“If people think I am a hero, I am not a hero. The real heroes are the people of Malaysia.”
Today, Justo says he is in a better place but the experience has changed his life.
“Everything is fine. Believe me, I was used to having a high standard of living. Now I just don’t care. I just want to be with my friends and family.
“Before, I only wanted to drink French wine. Now I don’t care if you give me the worst wine on earth.
“I need to be close to the people I love. I’m 52. I have an interesting life. I don’t care about material things anymore,” he added.