Asia

Thai pardon expected to free Swiss man in 1MDB scandal

A lawyer for a Swiss man connected with Malaysia's massive 1MDB financial scandal says he is expected to be freed soon from a Thai prison under a royal pardon applying to thousands of inmates.

Worasit Piriyawiboon said Augusto Xavier Justo was covered by the pardon issued by King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradevarangkun because he has less than a year left to serve.

Justo was convicted in August last year of blackmailing his former employer, a Saudi oil exploration company, by threatening to reveal stolen documents. Police said Justo confessed handing over documents involving PetroSaudi's dealings with Malaysian state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, to a whistle-blowing website.

U.S. authorities allege that at least $3.5 billion has been stolen from 1MDB by people close to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.