Businesswoman Gets Five Tears for Bribery

JAKARTA ~ A businesswoman was jailed for five years on Tuesday for bribing a prosecutor for US$660,000 to drop a major embezzlement case, after a trail that gripped the nation.

Judge Mansurdin Chaniago told the anti-corruption court that Artalyta Suryani bribed senior prosecutor Urip Tri Gunawan to drop the embezzlement probe into her associate, banking tycoon Sjamsul Nursalim.

“Artalyta Suryani has been proven legally and convincingly to have engaged in a corruption crime and must be punished with five years imprisonment,” chief judge Chaniago told the court.

Nursalim, one of Indonesia’s richest men, is accused of embezzling some $3 billion in emergency bail-out loans to his bank during the Asian financial crisis in 1998. He is on the run and believed to be in Singapore.

Secretly taped conversations between the businesswoman and the prosecutor were played during the trial, fanning headlines of widespread graft and influence peddling in the Attorney General’s Office.

Several other top prosecutors implicated in the scandal were demoted but the attorney general refused to step down despite media calls for his resignation.

Gunawan was arrested in March as he left Nursalim’s home in Jakarta with $660,000 in cash, just days after the attorney general had dropped the 10-year investigation into the banker citing a lack of evidence.

The businesswoman argued that the money was a personal loan from her to help Gunawan start a car wash business.

Chaniago also ordered her to pay a Rp250-million ($27,000) fine.

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