Indonesia seizes money from Suharto’s youngest son

August 30th, 2008 - 5:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Jakarta, Aug 30 (DPA) The Indonesian government seized more than $133 million from a company run by the youngest son of late dictator Suharto, local media reports said Saturday.Finance Minister Sri Mulyanu Indrawati said state-run Bank Mandiri was ordered to seize 1.225 trillion rupiah ($133.5 million) from accounts of Timor Putra Nasional, a controversial car company owned by Hutomo Mandala Putra, better known as “Tommy Suharto,” the Jakarta Post reported.

“(The transfer) is an effort to help secure state assets,” Indrawati was quoted as saying.

The company defaulted on loans to Indonesia’s state banks after the 1997-98 financial crisis. The firm was set up by Putra to build Indonesia’s national car, and attracted widespread criticism as it simply sold a re-branded model of South Korean cars.

The Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency sold Timor to Vista Bella Pratama in 2003 for about 500 billion rupiah. The governmental anti-graft agency said Vista Bella was affiliated to Timor.

The ministry has launched a civil graft case alleging Tommy illegally sold off assets from Timor to five of his own companies at a discount to avoid repaying state loans made to the troubled car importer during the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

The flamboyant millionaire playboy was widely regarded as a symbol of greed and corruption rampant during his father’s 32-year rule.

He was released from prison in October 2006 after serving five years of a 15-year prison sentence for plotting the assassination of a Supreme Court judge, who had sentenced him to 18 months in prison for an illegal land deal.

Despite accusations that the family accumulated up to $35 billion during Suharto’s 32 years in power, the youngest son is the only member of the clan who has been found guilty and jailed for any offence.

Suharto died in January aged 86.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was elected on an anti-corruption platform in 2004 but has been criticised for failing to net key figures from the Suharto era.

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