Sat, 27 Sep 2003

R&D recipients still on BI's blacklist, Anwar says

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Six former bank owners deemed eligible for release and discharge (R&D) status will remain on Bank Indonesia's list of bad bankers, central bank senior deputy governor Anwar Nasution said.

Anwar said on Friday that by receiving R&D status, the debtors would be considered to have settled their debts to the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA), but would not automatically be removed from Bank Indonesia's blacklist, which prohibits them from owning a majority stake in a bank.

"For one to own a bank's majority stake, what we need to see is not only the fit and proper test, but also what they did in the past that put their (previous) banks in trouble," Anwar said.

Under the banking law, Bank Indonesia is entitled to conduct a series of tests on those wishing to own and operate banks.

IBRA has repeatedly said that it has completed its review of the debts status of the six former bank owners, the results of which show that they have all been cooperative in settling their debts. Because of this cooperation, according to IBRA, they are eligible for R&D status, which would effectively clear them of all past charges of violating banking regulations.

The restructuring agency is now awaiting approval from President Megawati Soekarnoputri on the R&D status, which is issued through presidential decree.

The debtors in questions are Anthony Salim (former owner of Bank Central Asia), Siti H. Rukmana (Bank Yama), Liem Hendra (Bank Bumi Internasional), The Nin King (Bank Dana Utama), Ibrahim Risjad (Bank Risjad Salim) and Sudwikatmono (Bank Surya and Subentra).

The six are among 35 bank owners who received Rp 144.5 trillion in state funds from the central bank at the height of the financial crisis in the late 1990s to help their banks survive the crisis.

Many of the former bank owners, among the country's richest business tycoons during the economic boom of the early 1990s, were later accused by the Supreme Audit Agency of having misused much of the bail-out funds.

There also have been accusations that most of these bank owners breached bank legal lending limit regulations by channeling most of their banks' money into affiliated businesses, which is considered a crime under the current banking law.

In an effort to avoid criminal indictment, they signed a debt settlement scheme with IBRA, allowing them to settle their debts through cash and assets.

Anwar said the central bank would continue to monitor the matter, particularly its legal aspects.

Lukita D, Tuwo, secretary of the Financial Sector Policy Committee -- a powerful committee which groups together senior economic ministers and has the final say on IBRA's major transactions -- said on Friday the R&D status for the six former bankers was expected to be issued soon.

Six Debtors Deemed As Cooperative

Debtors Banks Debts (Rp)

Salim Group BCA 52.7 trillion

Sudwikatmono Subentra & Surya 1.8 trillion

Ibrahim Risyad Risyad Salim 0.6 trillion

The Nin King Dana Hutama 15.1 billion

Siti Hardijanti R Yakin Makmur 155.8 billion

Liem Hendra Budi Int'l 10.1 billion