Swiss national Andre Xavier Justo jailed for 1MDB-linked blackmail receives Thai royal pardon, likely to be freed before Christmas: Lawyer

Swiss national Andre Xavier Justo (seated) is among those who received a royal pardon from new Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradevarangkun.
Swiss national Andre Xavier Justo (seated) is among those who received a royal pardon from new Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradevarangkun. PHOTO: ROYAL THAI POLICE

KUALA LUMPUR - Swiss national Andre Xavier Justo, who is serving time in a Thai jail for a blackmail attempt linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), will be among thousands of Thai and foreign prisoners granted a royal pardon by King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradevarangkun.

His lawyer Worasit Piriyawiboon said Justo met the condition for a royal pardon as he had less than one year of prison term left, Malaysia's Bernama news agency reported on Tuesday (Dec 13).

The former employee of PetroSaudi International is expected to be released from prison between three and seven days after the announcement of the royal pardon, which was published in the Royal Gazette on Sunday.

The new Thai king granted the royal pardon to prisoners on the occasion of his ascension to the throne recently, following the death of his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Oct 13.

"He is expected to be released from jail before Christmas and I think he will be able to celebrate Christmas with his family in Switzerland," Bernama quoted Mr Worasit as saying.
 

Justo was found guilty by a Thai court in August last year of blackmailing his former employer which was involved in a now-aborted deal with 1MDB, Malaysia’s embattled state investment firm. He allegedly leaked details that led to claims that billions of ringgit were misappropriated at 1MDB.

He was sentenced to three years in jail but had his jail term cut under a royal amnesty in August this year. 

Mr Worasit said the last time he met his client was on Dec 1 when he was informed about the probability of him getting a royal pardon when the new King ascended to the throne.

"I think he would already know (about getting a royal pardon) by now as he has many friends there (in the prison)," the lawyer was quoted as saying.