Wed, 24 May 2000

Soemarjono grilled over fake money

SURABAYA (JP): Retired Army officer Soemarjono was officially named the main suspect in a counterfeit money case on Tuesday after he failed to refute allegations when Surabaya Police confronted him with other suspects.

Chief of Surabaya Police detectives Lt. Col. Suharto told reporters that Soemarjono denied all 59 questions asked by the interrogators in Jakarta as soon as he arrived from Kuala Lumpur on Monday. "But he made no denial when we showed him the evidence and confronted him with 13 other suspects in Surabaya," Suharto said.

Deputy chief of the Surabaya Police Lt. Col. Susno Duadji said on Monday the police confiscated large sheets bearing a large number of uncut fake Rp 50,000 notes totaling Rp 4.7 billion. The notes consisted of the old type bearing the picture of Soeharto and the new ones with a picture of WR Supratman.

Paraphernalia believed to have been used to produce the bogus notes was also confiscated, he said. "Police have also located the "factory" of the fake money in Cakung, East Jakarta."

Susno told reporters on Tuesday that questioning of Soemarjono would continue into the night. "We will continue on Wednesday morning if necessary. Please be patient."

Suharto said that Soemarjono was a retired Army colonel, not brigadier general as earlier reported. He was the commander of the Army's Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad) internal affairs from 1996 to 1998.

With Soemarjono detained, there are now 14 suspects in the counterfeit money racket which has printed notes totaling Rp 4.7 billion (US$546.433). Beside Soemarjono, there are two other retired Army officers among the suspects.

Suharto said he assumed that Soemarjono had superiors in the professional crime syndicate, adding, "Just wait and see."

Soemarjono, the manager of the Indonesian Thomas Cup (badminton) team this year, was in Kuala Lumpur to head the badminton squad when the police announced his alleged role in the production and circulation of bogus money.

Jakarta Police detectives picked up Soemarjono at his residence on Jl. Melati in Sector IX of Bintaro, at about 10 p.m. on Monday, Maj. Rycko Amelza Daniel, detective chief for monetary crimes said.

Rycko Amelza Daniel told reporters on Tuesday that Soemarjono was suspected of being involved in two separate fake money cases.

"The Surabaya case is more notorious. Another suspect, Army Col. (ret) Slamet Hardjo, said that the fake money, amounting to Rp 1.9 billion (US$223,529), he was bringing with him when arrested, was from Soemarjono," Rycko said. Slamet was arrested by Surabaya Police on May 12.

The other counterfeit money business allegedly involved Soemarjono and took place in Jakarta, said Rycko. "The business is linked to the arrest of a business woman named Lista Adriani bt Sumardji Hassan, 42, in February.

Lista, a wealthy shipping entrepreneur who leases oil tankers to Pertamina, was detained with fake money printing paper at her residence in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta. The paper is used to produce stamps.

"She told us she got the fake money printing paper from a man named Soemarjono of the National Sports Committee (KONI)," Rycko said, adding that possessing such paper itself was no crime.

The arrest of Lista was made after three people known as fake money couriers were arrested. "The couriers said they had Rp 100 million in fake money from Lista." (nur/ylt/sur)