Tommy Suharto Named Suspect in Graft Case

JAKARTA ~ State prosecutors have named the youngest son of former dictator Suharto as a suspect in a multimillion-dollar graft case linked to a monopoly he headed, an official said on Thursday.

“He has officially now become a suspect in the case related to the BPPC,” Attorney General’s Office spokesman Salman Maryadi said, referring to Hutomo “Tommy” Mandala Putra and the clove monopoly board he chaired until its 1998 dissolution.

Under Indonesian law, becoming a suspect means that a suit will be filed against the person.

Officials were quoted earlier this week as saying that they had a case so far to seek the return of some Rp1.7 trillion (US$188 million), though earlier the Attorney General’s Office said it was preparing a suit to demand the return of Rp3 trillion.

The board held a monopoly on the domestic sales and exports of cloves, which are widely used by the country’s large clove cigarette industry.

Attorney General Hendarman Supanji told journalists at his office that Tommy, as head of the board, had received cash from the central bank that was intended for clove farmers.

“He received the central bank cash injection but did not use it as it should have been. It should have been given to clove farmers … but part of it was used by the suspect himself,” Supanji said.

He did not give a figure nor say when Tommy would be questioned.

The civil suit is part of a deal made by Indonesia with a court in Guernsey, which extended a freeze on millions of euros of Tommy’s money in May 23.

Tommy is currently appealing the decision by the court to extend the freeze, which was made at Indonesia’s request.

Suharto and his family stand accused of amassing as much as $35 billion in corrupt funds during the president’s rule. The former president stepped down in 1998 amid a severe economic crisis and massive civil unrest.

Earlier this month, the Attorney General’s Office filed a $1.5-billion civil suit against Suharto himself. A criminal case against him was abandoned last year on grounds of ill health.

Tommy was freed from prison in October 2006 after serving just a third of a 15-year jail sentence for ordering the murder of a Supreme Court judge who had convicted him of corruption.

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