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Indonesia takes fight for Soeharto millions to UK JAKARTA - Lawyers from the Indonesian government will be in a courtroom on the island of Guernsey, south of Great Britain, claiming that the family of former president Soeharto siphoned off billions of dollars in public money. The case is aimed at seizing 50 million US dollar from an account in on the island, belonging to Hutomo Mandala Putra (commonly known as Tommy) , the son of the former president.

Indonesia will claim that Tommy's companies acquired the money fraudulently from public foundations chaired by Soeharto and that he didn't pay off huge debts owed to the state. This case is clear evidence that it has taken years to diminish the influence of Soeharto. "He appointed nearly every judge, the heads of every state-owned enterprise and reviewed every moderately sized foreign investment," it says in a court statement.

"During the period that president Soeharto was in office it became increasingly difficult to do business in Indonesia without the necessity to make corrupt payment to intermediaries, often connected with the Soeharto family. Tommy was in the forefront when it came to realizing opportunities to obtain financial benefit from government contracts by interposing himself or one of his companies into transactions involving government agencies to which he was contributing no economic value whatsoever."

The Attorney-General's director of civil cases, Yosef Suardi Sabda, who was attending the hearing, said that the government continues to investigate and to see whether new cases can be opened. He also said that the most likely scenario was that the court in Guernsey tells that this case should be decided in Indonesia. The biggest problem is that these funds originate from corruption and that they should be frozen or returned.

The investigation has seen the past two Ministers of Justice, Hamid Alawudin and Yusril Mahendra, thrown out of cabinet last week. Both are implicated in authorizing department accounts to disperse money to Tommy. The former ministers were involved in making a letter clearing 12 million US dollars to one of Tommy's bank accounts with BNP Paribas.



Posted in Crime @ 14 May 2007 03:27 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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