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CAFCA - Seize Suharto Assets - Bugger Bali

CAFCA - As New Zealand troops head towards the killing fields of East Timor, the Government can strike a blow right here at the very people responsible for the carnage.

Not the machete murderers of the militia. No, we can strike at the people at the very top - the former First Family of Indonesia, the Suhartos, and their cronies.

President Suharto was responsible for the 1975 invasion of East Timor, and the genocidal occupation that followed it. He has the blood of hundreds of thousands of Timorese on his hands. According to Time's definitive cover story on the Suhartos' illgotten wealth (24/5/99), the Suharto family owns nearly 40%of East Timor.

It is imperative that the Government seize New Zealand properties and corporate assets held in New Zealand by the Suharto family and their cronies. They have been gained through institutionalised corruption, and may very well feature at the international war crimes tribunal to be set up to prosecute the perpetrators of the East Timor genocide. The Proceeds of Crime Act provides NZ legal precedent for this. The best known Suharto asset here was the Lilybank resort, in the Mackenzie Country, owned by son Tommy. As of July 1999, that was stated to have been sold. The Government must freeze that sale and investigate whether it has simply been transferred to cronies.

Suharto's daughter Siti owns two alpine chalets in Queenstown. These must be seized. They are situated in Goldfields Heights, a subdivision which features leading figures from the Suharto and Habibie regimes (Siti's husband is the former commander of the special forces, and a prime candidate for any war crimes tribunal). This whole subdivision needs investigation.

There are corporate connections as well. Brierley Investments Ltd is dominated by an Asian consortium - the Indonesian part of which is owned by Liem Sioe Liong, the richest man in Indonesia, and the longest standing crony of former President Suharto. The Suharto family is directly connected to Brierley's - Tommy Suharto has a joint venture with BIL subsidiary, AsiaPower, and he is listed in BIL's 1998 annual report as a director of Mandala Nusantara Ltd, a subsidiary of BIL Asia Holdings Ltd. These corporate assets must likewise be investigated and seized. Our research has established that there are many other examples of Indonesian investment in NZ connected to Suharto cronies or directly to the family. And ordinary Kiwis can boycott Bali. Much of the tourism industry there is owned by the Suharto family and cronies. Time (24/5/99) revealed how Tommy acquired land there for a resort - villagers who refused to sell to him were "intimidated, beaten and sometimes put into a pond up to their necks..." So, by seizing the NZ assets of the Suharto family and cronies, we would be striking at the very people most responsible for the East Timor genocide, and the ones who have most profited from it.

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