Tommy Faces Land Scam Suit

JAKARTA ~ State prosecutors filed a civil lawsuit this week against the youngest son of ex-president Suharto to recover money linked to a land exchange scam in the 1990s.

It targets a company, GBS, in which Hutomo Mandala Putra Suharto, known as Tommy, was a commissioner, as well as its president and a former chairman of the national logistics agency Bulog.

Tommy Suharto was jailed for 18 months in 2000 in connection with the swap, in which GBS acquired prime land owned by Bulog in return for swampy land in North Jakarta.

The scheme caused state losses of Rp95.4 billion (US$627,906).

The conviction surprised many at the time as it was the first given to a member of Suharto’s family for corruption, although it was later overturned.

He escaped but was eventually caught and jailed for ordering the murder of the judge who had convicted him. He was freed last year after serving just a third of his 15-year jail sentence.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been criticized for failing to net major figures from the Suharto era after being elected on an anti-corruption platform in 2004.

Tommy Suharto is also a suspect in a separate criminal case that involves a state monopoly he used to head.

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