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3.1 The journalist was just a mouthpiece


Clare Rewcastle Brown doesn’t have $2million to pay to Justo. Neither does she have the connections to really benefit from PM Najib Razak being removed. She arranged for the sale of the stolen data to Datuk Tong Kooi Ong, a successful businessman and media tycoon. Tong is known to be hostile to the current Malaysian government, has the money and was willing to pay the $2million.


Rewcastle Brown was really just a mouthpiece to ensure the story gained international media traction. In fact, according to Justo’s confession, she agreed from the beginning that her stories based on the stolen data should be proofread by Tong before publication.


Written Confession of Xavier Justo, 26 June 2015:

“Tong stated he didn’t want to involve the Saudis or PetroSaudi which was important to me. He said that this was an internal Malaysian matter only. He asked Clare to write an article based on the stolen information and for him to proof read the article before publication. Clare agreed to do this.



3.2 A lack of time, not a misleading


On 24 July 2015, The Edge Media Group chairman, Datuk Tong Kooi Ong and the media group editor, Ho Kay Tat, issued a statement on The Malaysian Insider news portal (which is also under The Edge Media Group). They publicly confessed that Tong offered $2million payment in return for documents Justo stole from his former employer. The admission only came out after Singapore daily Straits Times reported, earlier that day, their exclusive interview with Justo in the Bangkok jail.


In their statement, Tong and Ho pretended they misled Justo by promising the money. In fact, they simply did not agree on the payment channels. Tong and his employee thought that dealing with financial institutions would bring them out into the open, Justo encountered difficulties in opening a new bank account.


Written Confession of Xavier Justo, 26 June 2015:

“We met again in Singapore a few days after that to discuss the data some more and finalise payment. One or two days after that second meeting I opened a BVI trust in Singapore and tried to open a bank account at DBS Bank to receive the payment. However DBS refused to open the account. Tong told me that he would transfer the money to this account using his UOB Bank account in Singapore, he was unable to do this as DBS refused my account.


I opened an account in Abu Dhabi asking Tong to pay the money to this account using whatsapp. He refused claiming that Jho Low has too many interests in the region. I then offered my Justo-Consulting in Hong Kong for payment, again using whatsapp. Tong refused to pay claiming it has my name which was a risk. I did not put the money in my Swiss account because of the growing story around the Malaysian/ PetroSaudi situation. In fact I closed the account and moved the money to Koh Samui to my wife for safety.


The WhatsApp conversations involving Rewcastle Brown, Tong (who was using Ho’s phone) and Justo confirm Justo’s confession.

Xavier Justo, WhatsApp, 19 March 2015

“So you are telling me that you are not going to pay me as agreed in the bank that i have because you feel that this will expose you? I will then have no choice that to (sic) expose the truth.

Tong Kooi Ong (using Ho Kay Tat phone), WhatsApp, 19 March 2015

“That exposes us and that makes it difficult for us to do a direct transaction… especially in Abu Dhabi, of all places!!


(Justo, in his confession, listed out the nicknames used for each person in the WhatsApp group named “Meet”: Justo was “Fullerton” – in reference to the Singapore hotel where he met Tong and his associates and delivered the stolen data with the promise of being paid later; Rewcastle Brown was “Athene Ban” – for the Athene Bangkok, the hotel where she and Justo met for the first time; Tong was “Ho Kay Tat” – as he was using Ho’s phone to communicate with Justo and Rewcastle Brown.)


According to our documentary evidence, not only did Tong not mislead Justo, but it was Justo himself who refused a payment method proposed by Tong.


Written Confession of Xavier Justo, 26 June 2015:

“Tong then offered to pay me by cash if I travelled to Singapore, this would be done of several trips. I declined this option fearing detection at airports and exposing myself to arrest.


Finally, they all agreed: “It would involve Tong paying her the 2,000,000 USD in the UK and her paying me a monthly amount disguised as a consultancy fee via the Sarawak Report.”


Not long after they reached the agreement, Justo was arrested in Thailand. Tong has never paid Justo not because he had intended to mislead him. It was due to the lack of time.


3.3 Too much risk for Tong


Tong Kooi Ong is a wealthy man and he is the owner of a local media a group. But even for internationally respected newspaper, $2million is a lot of money to pay for a story. Tong is an opponent on Najib Razak’ government, but obviously he would never risk being seen as the man behind the campaign to take out the PM.


In a WhatsApp conversation, on 19 March 2015, Tong’s editor Ho Kay Tat (or Tong himself, using Ho’s phone) reproach Rewcastle Brown with being too obvious in her purpose of “ousting the PM”.


Ho Kay Tat (or Tong), WhatsApp, 19 March 2015

„Your article editorialises in a way that shows you are out to oust the Prime Minister …. We are accused of working with you with (the) purpose of ousting the PM.


After his public confession on 24 July 2015, Tong repeatedly denied any involvement in any conspiracy to topple the prime minister and any political motive in publishing the articles.


Datuk Tong Kooi Ong and Ho Kay Tat statement, 7 September 2015

We wish to reiterate that The Edge Media Group and ourselves were and are not involved in any political conspiracy. /…/ Anyone who have read our various exposes would know that we have never linked the prime minister or even the government in general to the problems at 1MDB. /…/ “We had never given 1MDB a political spin in any of our articles.”


There is someone else behind Tong and Rewcastle Brown, someone who does stand to gain from Najib Razak’ removal.

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