Sat, 26 Apr 2003

Bapepam to continue Lippo probe

Zakki Hakim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Capital Market Supervisory Agency (Bapepam) has finished a two-month investigation into 46 securities companies, allegedly involved in manipulation of the Bank Lippo share price.

But Bapepam Chairman Herwidayatmo said on Friday that it had yet to complete the full investigation work as the agency would now start investigating individual investors linked to the alleged crime.

He was quoted by as saying that the new probe would take at least one month.

He urged the investors to cooperate in the questioning process, and said force would be used if they refused to answer their summonses.

The Bapepam investigation is a follow-up action over allegations that the some securities firms and some individual investors had been involved in a scam to deliberately push Bank Lippo shares down.

The lower price was designed to allow Bank Lippo's former owners, the Riady family, to repurchase a majority stake of the bank at the expense of the government, which had spent a lot of money bailing out the bank during the late 1990s financial crisis, some analysts said.

Previously, the Jakarta Stock Exchange faulted the bank's management for misleading investors by claiming an unaudited report as audited. The bank reported in November that it suffered a net loss of Rp 1.27 trillion for the first three quarters of 2002, although it earlier said that the bank enjoyed a net profit of Rp 99 billion for the same period.