Sat, 27 Mar 1999

Police to probe tax evasion at five firms

JAKARTA (JP): Acting on a tip-off, police will begin to probe five companies here for possible tax evasion, a police officer said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters, chief of the Jakarta Police detectives Col. Alex Bambang Riatmodjo said both state-owned and privately owned companies were included in the probe.

However, Alex refused to reveal further details, including the total value of the suspected tax evasions and the identity of the companies.

He said employees involved in any crime would escape if police revealed the names of the firms.

"I received the tip-off via a phone call this morning in which my source told me tax evasions had occurred at the five companies," Alex said, refusing to identify the source.

Police recently uncovered tax evasions at six companies which caused losses to the state totaling at least Rp 55 billion (US$6.2 million).

Investigations of the six firms, including two state companies, are still underway.

"So far we've arrested 17 people suspected of involvement in these tax evasions," Alex said.

The six companies are national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, state-owned security paper and banknote printing company Perum Peruri, insurance company Federal International Finance, PT Agintara, private telecommunications company PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel) and property company PT Asriland.

According to Alex, his men are seeking to block suspects' bank accounts to enable police to gather evidence in the cases.

"Their accounts are located at different banks. We have to be extra careful because we have to separate the legal earnings of the suspects and the illegal earnings."

Alex said one of the suspects involved in the Telkomsel and Garuda tax evasions recently contacted police from Mecca, Saudi Arabia, saying he would come to police headquarters to give his account of the alleged crime as soon as he returned from his pilgrimage.

"Ismail (the suspect) contacted us from Mecca and will soon give us his testimony," Alex said.

Ismail is a clerk at the Management Education Institute at the University of Indonesia.

Police located a Rp 5 billion house in a housing complex in West Jakarta which is owned by Ismail. Police suspect the house was purchased with money obtained through Ismail's alleged illegal activities. (emf)