BANGKOK -Swiss National Andre Xavier Justo, a potential key witness in the corruption probe surrounding Malaysian state fund 1MDB will be among thousands of Thai and foreign prisoners granted a royal pardon by Thailand’s new king, King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradevarangkun.
His lawyer Worasit Piriyawiboon who disclosed Justo’s impending release from prison, said his client met the conditions for a royal pardon as he had less than one year of a prison term left.
The Swiss national 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 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,” he said.
The lawyer said the last time he met his client was on Dec 1 where he was informed about the probability of him getting a royal pardon and be released from prison 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),” he said.
The 49-year-old former IT executive at Petrosaudi had also received a royal pardon in August, on the occasion of the late King Bhumibol’s 70 years on the throne and Queen Sirikit’s birthday.
The royal pardon had enabled Justo to commute one-third of his three-year jail term.
Justo was found guilty by a Thai court in August last year of blackmailing his former employee
The Bangkok South Criminal Court which delivered the verdict ordered Justo’s jail term to begin on June 22, last year, the day Thai authorities arrested him in Koh Samui island, southern Thailand.
The Royal decree regarding the Royal pardon was countersigned by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and published in the Royal Gazette on Saturday.
Under the Royal decree, prisoners serving detention term; those ordered to perform public service in lieu of fines and those placed on probation will be released from prison.
Prisoners who are totally blind; without both legs or hands and certified as being disabled by two doctors; who are lepers or who are suffering from cancer, AIDS, mental problem or serious kidney problem; first-time female prisoners who have served at least one-thirds of their prison terms will be set free under the Royal decree.
Prisoners who are older than 60 and who have served at least one-thirds of their prison terms as well as first-time prisoners who have served at least one-thirds of their terms.
Prisoners on death row for specific offences will have their sentence commuted to life imprisonment; those serving life imprisonment will have their jailterm reduced to 50 years and then cut by half for prisoners classified as outstanding, one-thirds for “very good” prisoners and one-fourths for prisoners classified as “good”.
On other offences, the prison term cutback differ from one-fifths to one-sixths for outstanding prisoners; one-sixths or one-sevenths for “very good” prisoners and one-sevenths to one-eighths for “good” prisoners.
Prisoners serving jailterms for offences stipulated in Sections 276, 277, 280, 285 and 343 of the Criminal Code and prisoners serving more than eight years’ imprisonment for offences related to drugs trafficking, import, export or production of illicit drugs will not be eligible to Royal pardon.
Source: Thai PBS | Bernama