DENPASAR ~ Bali Police have put a fugitive Indonesian property company director on their most-wanted list following the arrest of two British citizens resident here over an alleged property scam involving a Russian.
The man on the run was named by police as Agus Setiawan Wawo Runtu, commissioner of Asian Estates Investment, who listed a residential address in Jl Danau Tamblingan, Sanur. Police said the address does not exist.
His two expatriate colleagues, Christopher Forbes, 50, and Angus Jackson, who operate from offices in Seminyak, were arrested on Christmas Eve when police acted on a complaint by a Russian citizen, Dmitri Dhernikov, that in 2008 he had paid US$200,000 to Wawo Runtu through an account at PermataBank, had then reconsidered the deal to purchase land at Balangan Beach on The Bukit in south Bali and asked for the money to be returned. Dhernikov says it never was.
Forbes, who lives at Bali View Apartments in Jl Nakula, Legian, was later released from jail. It was not clear today whether Jackson had also been released.
The attorney for the two men, Reza Akbar Maya Poetra, told local media he was mystified why his clients had been arrested when it was clear Dhernikov had paid his $200,000 to Wawo Runtu and had asked him to refund it.
He said: “On May 13, 2008, Dmitry Dhemikov claims he transferred Rp2 billion ($200,000) to the account of Wawo Runtu at PermataBank as the downpayment for the purchase of the land. I don’t know why Dmitry Dhernikov cancelled the transaction and asked for his money to be returned. The money requested by Dmitry was not returned by [Wawo Runtu].”
Poetra said there were irregularities in Wawo Runtu’s explanation why the money was not returned, including that he had forgotten Dhernikov’s address.
“Based on statements such as these made (by Wawo Runtu) to the investigators, it appears strange that my clients are the ones who were arrested. This was an electronic transfer of money. OK, the arrest of my clients is the right of the police, but there are rules to be followed,” he said.
The head of Denpasar Police criminal division, Rendra Radika Dewayana, denied police had been selective in who they arrested. “[Wawo Runtu] is being sought. The address he provided in the case was fictive. He is now listed on the most-wanted list of the Bali Police. The case is ongoing.”
Wawo Runtu is listed on the web-based business site LinkedIn as director of PT Birdlands. Information on the site says the company focuses on environmentally aware development. He says on the site that he writes a blog at http://birdlandstyle.blogspot.com.