By the Malaysian Spark team
BRITISH investigative journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown and her blog Sarawak Report are being probed for email and communications hacking, reveal the City of London Police.
The probe is being carried out under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and the offense carries a jail term and fine upon conviction.
This follows a police report lodged by PetroSaudi Investments Ltd at the City of London Policeâ€™s National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre on March 1.
The report was in connection with allegations made by Sarawak Report that PetroSaudi had engaged in fraudulent activities while dealing with Malaysiaâ€™s sovereign wealth fund the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
PetroSaudi has claimed its confidential emails and servers had been hacked into and the contents made public at www.sarawakreport.org.
Based on documents from City of London Police that were sighted by theÂ Malaysian SparkÂ yesterday, the Sarawak-born Clare could soon be hauled up by the British authorities to face the consequences of her action.
UKâ€™s RIPA authorizes phone call/email/communications interception to be only performed by a member of the police or law enforcement agencies acting with a warrant from the Secretary of State.
The law provides no exception for journalists or private citizens, even those purportedly acting in the public interest.
This UK law is aligned to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights that states: â€œ[e]veryone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.â€
Since RIPA was enacted, more than 100 people, half of them journalists and ex-journalists, including editors have been arrested in the UK for the illegal acquisition of confidential information under RIPA.
This includes journalists from British newspapers such as The Sun, now-defunct News of the World, The Mirror and The Times.
The Sarawak Report had on 28 February carried an article entitled â€œHeist of the Century â€“ How Jho Low Used PetroSaudi As â€˜A Frontâ€™ To Siphon Billions Out Of 1MDB!â€.
The website claimed to have obtained access to documents and emails relating to transactions by 1MDB, including its initial joint venture with PetroSaudi from 2009.
City of London Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard was unavailable for immediate comments when contacted by theÂ Malaysian Spark.