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Cablegate: Prosecutors File Corruption Case Against

VZCZCXRO1540
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #1920 1940750
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 130750Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5429
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0903
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 1586
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0799
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1013
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 3331
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS JAKARTA 001920

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EFIN KJUS KCOR ID
SUBJECT: PROSECUTORS FILE CORRUPTION CASE AGAINST
SUHARTO-LINKED FOUNDATION

REF: 06 JAKARTA 6332

1. (SBU) Summary: The Indonesian Attorney General has
reopened the legal battle to recover former Indonesian
president Suharto's allegedly ill-gotten wealth with a civil
lawsuit against the Suharto-linked Supersemar Foundation.
The case, which seeks the recovery of $1.66 billion plus
property, differs from the now defunct criminal case against
Suharto by targeting the foundation rather than Suharto
personally. The move comes within weeks of a cabinet
reshuffle in which President Yudhoyono appointed a new
Attorney General, among others. Given past failures, most
Indonesians are skeptical that this case will succeed. End
Summary.

2. (U) On July 9, the Indonesian Attorney General's Office
(AGO) filed a civil lawsuit in South Jakarta District Court
against former President Suharto and the Suharto-linked
Supersemar Foundation for alleged funding discrepancies
resulting in $420 million in losses to the state.
Prosecutors asserted that half of the foundation's net profit
should have been allocated for scholarships but instead was
diverted to Suharto's family and cronies, in particular to a
group of companies run by Bob Hasan. The AGO is demanding
the return of $1.66 billion, along with properties belonging
to the foundation, to the state.

3. (U) The move comes only weeks after President Yudhoyono
appointed a new Attorney General and Minister for Justice and
Human Rights. The AG, Hendarman Supandji, made public
statements soon after his appointment indicating an interest
in reexamining the case against Suharto. His predecessor,
after considerable effort in the criminal case, had closed it
in May 2006 on the grounds Suharto was too ill to stand trial
(reftel).

4. (U) The new case, like the one before it, targets
Suharto's allegedly illegitimate wealth, most of which
purportedly resided in his various foundations, but is a
civil rather than a criminal suit and is directed at the
foundation rather than Suharto personally. As noted reftel,
however, the Suharto foundations have been managed by a
succession of state agencies since the AGO first opened its
investigation of them in 2000. They have not necessarily
been well managed and reportedly have significant liabilities.

5. (U) According to observers, the case faces some potential
evidentiary obstacles. The evidence consists largely of
documents the AGO confiscated from the foundation in 2002,
which were returned to the foundation after the case was
dropped (though the law requires their preservation), leaving
prosecutors with copies. The key advantage of the civil suit
is that it does not require Suharto's testimony in court and
should therefore not be affected by his state of health.

6. (SBU) Many Indonesian observers are skeptical that the new
case will succeed. Since Suharto stepped down in May 1998,
much effort has been spent, for political and fiscal reasons,
to recover at least a portion of the billions of dollars
Suharto, his family and his cronies are said to have
misappropriated. Most previous efforts ultimately have been
dropped or not fully pushed. These failures have left many
Indonesians jaded. That said, the news of the case seems to
confirm that President Yudhoyono remains serious in fighting
corruption.
HUME

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