Prosecutors, Tommy Suharto Get Three Weeks to Settle Graft Case

JAKARTA ~ A court gave the youngest son of former president Suharto and state prosecutors on Wednesday nearly three weeks to reach a settlement over a US$440-million civil graft case.

Prosecutors acting on behalf of the Finance Ministry allege Hutomo “Tommy” Mandala Putra illegally sold off assets from troubled car importer PT Timor to five of his companies at a discount in order to avoid paying off state loans made to Timor during the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

The decision handed down at the first hearing for the case would give Tommy and five linked companies nearly three weeks to come up with an offer satisfactory to state prosecutors seeking $440 million in assets.

“We order both parties to settle (this case) through an informal mediation before August 12,” Central Jakarta District Court judge Reno Listowo told the court.

“If no settlement is reached, then the court will proceed with litigation,” he added.

Mediation between parties is a routine first step in civil cases under Indonesian law.

Tommy, who was reputedly the favorite of the late Suharto, enjoyed favored 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 $61-million civil corruption case against him in February this year, winning $550,000 in a countersuit.

One of six children, he also served just 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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