Indonesia seizes land from son of late dictator

Indonesia seizes land from son of late dictator

Government says Tommy Suharto owes equivalent of $181 million to the state

Tommy Suharto, the youngest son of former Indonesian dictator Suharto, joins members of his Berkarya party at a hotel he owns in Bogor in 2018. (Reuters File Photo)
Tommy Suharto, the youngest son of former Indonesian dictator Suharto, joins members of his Berkarya party at a hotel he owns in Bogor in 2018. (Reuters File Photo)

JAKARTA: Indonesia has seized land tied to an automaker owned by the son of the late dictator Suharto in a fresh bid to recoup money from the influential clan, the government said on Friday.

Military troops and police in West Java province took control of some 124 hectares of land controlled by Tommy Suharto and his company PT Timor Putera Nasional in connection with 2.6 trillion rupiah (US$181 million) in debts owed to the state.

Previous efforts to seize four parcels of land in Karawang, West Java, used as collateral on decades-old loans, had failed due to “obstacles on the ground”, the government said.

The seizure was part of a broader bid to recover some $7.7 billion in unpaid loans given as bank bailouts during the 1997-98 financial crisis, it added.

Dozens of people were being summoned over funds, Indonesia’s chief security minister Mahfud MD said, adding that successive changes in government officials and on-off negotiations with debtors led to long delays.

“This has been going on for 22 years — there will be no more negotiations,” he said Friday.

The task force leading the recovery effort said Tommy Suharto and his lawyer had been ordered to comply with requests to meet.

Suharto died of natural causes in 2008 after three decades of military-led rule that was marked by corruption on a massive scale.

The late president’s six children allegedly amassed fortunes by enjoying privileged access to lucrative business deals.

Tommy Suharto was known to be the most controversial for hiring a hitman to kill a judge who had convicted him of corruption.

He served only four years of a 15-year prison term for the 2001 murder, and was released from prison in 2006.

Tommy Suharto is now a politician and head of the Berkarya political party.


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