(AFP) – Aug 29, 2008
JAKARTA (AFP) — Indonesia has seized 134 million dollars from a firm linked to Suharto's youngest son, reports said Saturday, in the latest move to bring the ex-dictator's family to account for alleged graft.
The finance ministry ordered Bank Mandiri to hand over 1.23 trillion rupiah (134 million dollars) belonging to Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra's now-defunct car company Timor Putra Nasional, The Jakarta Post daily reported.
"(The seizure) is an effort to help secure state assets," Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said.
The move comes amid a protracted legal battle over alleged graft involving the car company, which was granted exclusive rights during Suharto's reign to import South Korean cars and rebadge them as Indonesia's national car.
The ministry has launched a civil graft case alleging Tommy illegally sold off assets from Timor to five of his companies at a discount to avoid paying off state loans made to the troubled car importer during the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
The former dictator's son has filed a countersuit against the ministry, accusing it of pursuing the 440 million dollar case in order to justify a freeze on his assets in Guernsey, a British crown dependency off the French coast.
The countersuit is seeking 21.8 million dollars in compensation and a public apology.
Tommy, who was reputedly the favourite of the late Suharto, enjoyed favoured access to business deals during the heady years of crony capitalism before the financial crisis and his father's 1998 fall.
Tommy successfully fought off a separate 61-million-dollar civil corruption case against him in February this year, winning 550,000 dollars in a countersuit.
One of six children, he also served less than a third of a 15-year jail term for ordering the murder of a Supreme Court judge in July 2002. He was released in October 2006.
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