Sat, 11 Sep 1999

Bankers Trust accuses JIHD of forging evidence

JAKARTA (JP): The London-based Bankers Trust International Plc. (BTI) accused on Friday the Jakarta-listed property firm PT Jakarta International Hotel Development (JIHD) of forging material evidence in a derivative transaction dispute.

BTI lawyer Ibrahim Senen of Darmawan & Co. law firm said that JIHD lawyer Hotman Paris Hutapea submitted early this month to the South Jakarta Court a forged ISDA master agreement document, in an attempt to prevent JIHD from settling the dispute in the London arbitration court.

ISDA stands for International Swaps and Derivatives Association. The ISDA document contains a general agreement between two parties on a swaps and derivatives transaction.

The ISDA document is normally attached to the so-called "schedule" document containing details of the transaction agreement including a clause stipulating that any dispute or breach of contract is to be resolved in the London arbitration court (in the BTI-JIHD case).

Senen said that Hotman submitted to the court an ISDA document, but without the "schedule" document.

Senen pointed out that the schedule document had been ripped off from the ISDA master agreement document in such a way that the seal of the ISDA document had been broken.

He said that the ISDA document and its schedule document are fixed by a special binding machine with a special seal.

Senen showed to reporters the original ISDA document and its special seal, and showed a copy of the document submitted by Hotman in which the seal has been broken.

JIHD filed a lawsuit against BTI early this year in the Jakarta court accusing the latter of breaching a derivative transaction agreement.

Senen said that JIHD and BTI entered a currency and interest rate swap transaction worth Rp 242 billion in July 1997 (equivalent to US$100 million at the time).

After the rupiah tumbled in value against the U.S. dollar, JIHD could not keep with the derivative contract, he said.

But JIHD then made the law suit demanding BTI pay Rp 6.4 trillion and $50 million claiming that it had suffered financial loss because BTI had breached the contract including by not providing information on the currency crisis, Senen said.

Senen said, however, that South Jakarta Court judge J.M.T. Simatupang declined to verify the originality of the document submitted by Hotman.

He smells something fishy going on, particularly as similar cases involving Hotman and Simatupang also resulted in a "controversial" ruling.

Senen said that according to the law, if the document submitted by Hotman was forged, the court should step aside and let the London arbitration court process the dispute.

Meanwhile, Hotman denied Friday the allegations made by Senen.

"I will sue them if they accuse me of forging evidence," he told The Jakarta Post by phone.

"I received the evidence as it was from my client. They (BTI lawyers) are junior lawyers who don't understand civil law," he said.

Hotman added the document should be treated as a "concept" because there weren't any signatures on the schedule document (the one in the hands of BTI).

"Can you forged a concept," Hotman said.(rei)