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Anti-corruption court indicts former First Media executive JAKARTA - Prosecutors at the Anti-Corruption Court on Tuesday indicted Billy Sindoro, a former director of cable television and Internet provider PT First Media Tbk, for allegedly giving Rp 500 million ($46,000) as a bribe to a government official in charge of monitoring monopolistic business practices.

Prosecutors from the Corruption Eradication Commission, led by Sarjono Turin, state in the indictment that Sindoro allegedly gave money to Muhammad Iqbal, a member of the Business Competition Supervisory Commission, or KPPU, in September. “The defendant has given money, goods, favors or promises to a state official in connection with the official’s duty and authority as stipulated in article five of the anti-corruption law,” Sarjono told the court.

Sindoro’s lawyer did not challenge the validity of the indictment. Under the penal code, an indictment can be voided if the defense can prove it is technically flawed. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a Rp 250 million fine. Iqbal and two other KPPU member had been adjudicating complaints filed by several cable companies against PT Direct Vision, a subsidiary of First Media, over the broadcasting rights to last season’s English Premier League football matches.

PT Direct Vision had secured the rights from Malaysia’s pay TV content provider Astro and ESPN Star Sports. On Aug. 29, the KPPU ruled that ESPN Star Sports and Astro, through its subsidiary All Asia Multimedia Network, had violated laws concerning monopolies and unfair business practices. Direct Vision was not cited for monopolistic practices in the KPPU ruling.

The KPPU also ruled that Astro must continue to provide content to Direct Vision, which was then in a dispute with Astro over a long-delayed joint venture project, until that matter was settled. Astro did not renew its contract with Direct Vision, which ended on Oct. 20.

Sindoro and Iqbal were arrested minutes apart on Sept. 16 at the Aryaduta Hotel in Jakarta after Sindoro allegedly gave the bribe to Iqbal, who is now awaiting trail. Sindoro’s lawyer Humprey Djemat said after Tuesday’s session that the money was not related to the KPPU’s ruling. “My client was no longer First Media’s director as of June 9 and the money was personal and had nothing to do with KPPU’s ruling in favor of Direct Vision,” Djemat said.

The lawyer also said that on Dec. 3 the Central Jakarta district court confirmed the KPPU ruling as sound and just. First Media and the Jakarta Globe are associated companies of the Lippo Group. The trial will resume on Dec. 15.



Posted in Corruption @ 11 December 2008 04:07 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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