By Massita Ahmad
SINGAPORE: A pre-trial conference between lawyers representing Xavier Andre Justo and Datuk Tong Kooi Ong was held in chambers at the Singapore Supreme Court this morning.
Damodara Hazra LLP appeared for the Swiss national Justo while David Lim & Partners LLP represented Tong, owner of The Edge Media Group, at the conference before
Assistant Registrar Ho Yee Tien Delphine.
Suresh Damodara, lawyer for the 48-year-old former employee of PetroSaudi International, and Tong’s counsel Doris Chia declined to comment.
Justo is suing Tong and Group Chief Executive Officer and Publisher of The Edge Ho Kay Tat and founder-editor of the Sarawak Report Clare Rewcastle Brown for damages.
Ho and Rewcastle Brown were unrepresented.
(The pre-trial conference or PTC is a proactive case management mechanism. It allows the court to monitor the progress of a case and give directions for a just, speedy and economical disposal of the action.)
According to a news report yesterday, which was based on court documents filed last November, Justo claimed that he handed over two data storage drives in Tong’s presence in Singapore last year in return for US$2 million (RM$7.77 million) – money which he never received.
He wants the items – which contain data about PetroSaudi and its business partner 1Malaysia Development Berhad – to be returned and for any copies to be destroyed, the report said.
Tong was reported to be contending that Justo had no right to the drives because they were stolen from PetroSaudi.
Justo is serving a three-year jail term in Thailand for attempted extortion and blackmail of PetroSaudi.
The information from Justo is said to be linked to articles in The Edge and The Sarawak Report about 1MDB.