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Call to freeze the Suharto assets in NZ

Indonesia Human Rights Committee,
Box 68-419,
Newton,
Auckland.

23 April, 2000.

MEDIA RELEASE:

Indonesia Human Rights Committee calls on Foreign Minister freeze the Suharto family assets in New Zealand.

Former dictator Suharto and members of his family are now being investigated for massive corruption, and prosecutors say they may try to freeze family bank accounts and other assets in Indonesia. The Indonesia Human Rights Committee has made representations to Foreign Minister Phil Goff - who is about to visit Jakarta - to freeze the Suharto family assets in New Zealand and to undertake to hold a parliamentary enquiry to uncover the full extent of Suharto holdings here. A letter has been faxed to Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Matt Robson.

"It is outrageous that the Indonesian people are being asked to bare the brunt of harsh austerity measures while Suharto's vast global business 'empire' remains intact," said Maire Leadbeater speaking for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee. " Suharto's fortune - anywhere between US$15 billion and $100 billion was all acquired by bribery and corruption and the ruthless repression of dissent."

"Sadly, the Indonesian investigation is half-hearted, as Suharto still has many friends in powerful places and even President Wahid says he will pardon Suharto if he is found guilty. That is all the more reason why we should do the right thing, in line with our law which says that that nobody should not benefit from the proceeds of crime."

"We cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that Suharto children have bought themselves luxury hideaways in our country - Tommy Suharto's Lilybank resort is the best known, but daughter Titiek also had chalets in Queenstowns Goldfield Heights. Tommy Suharto probably still has a financial stake in the venture, despite its transfer to an Indonesian mate for $1.00!"

"There is also the issue of Suharto family involvement in major corporate holdings in this country. Brierleys is linked through its 20% owner Delham Investments to the Camerlin group which in turn is owned by Indonesia's Salim Group, controlled by Suharto crony Liem Sioe Liong. Tommy Suharto, is a director of a Brierley's subsidiary Mandala Nusantara Ltd."

" We should take charge of the Suharto assets here and act as a catalyst for similar investigations around the world. Let us return the wealth to the people who have the most right to it and the most need of it. What better Easter gesture than an announcement that New Zealand will help the Indonesian people to regain their heritage."

for further information: Maire Leadbeater - 09-376-9098 or cell phone 025-436-957


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