Fri, 19 Aug 1994

Tansil to appeal against corruption indictment

JAKARTA (JP): Businessman Eddy Tansil plans to appeal the 17- year prison term handed to him by a Jakarta court last week for swindling the government out of $448 million, his lawyers said yesterday.

F.X.L. Soewadi of the Gani Djemat law firm which defended Tansil in Central Jakarta District Court, said yesterday that his client has agreed to file an appeal with the Jakarta High Court.

"I cannot tell you the reason because we have not yet compiled our summary of the appeal," Soewadi said. "But we will stick to our previous defense statement."

Tansil's position was announced immediately after the Attorney General's office disclosed its intention to appeal the court's ruling.

Attorney General's office chief spokesman Basrief Arief said yesterday that the public prosecutors were particularly unhappy with the amount of money that Tansil was ordered to pay, a sum they consider to be far below the financial losses he caused the government.

The Central Jakarta District Court last week found Tansil guilty of corruption. In addition to the jail term, Tansil was ordered to pay Rp 500 billion ($238 million) in restitution to the government and an additional Rp 30 million fine.

The government prosecutors had demanded life imprisonment and Rp 800 billion.

Tansil, the 40-year-old owner of the Golden Key Group, is the central figure in the Rp 1.5 trillion ($620 million) loan scam at the government-owned Bank Pembangunan Indonesia (Bapindo).

He managed to cash some $448 million of the Bapindo loans, originally intended for imports of equipment for his huge petrochemical project. He used some of the funds to purchase property while the rest was deposited in various banks both in Indonesian and overseas.

Tansil tried to buy his way out of the scandal by offering that the government take over eight of his Golden Key industrial projects which his lawyers say carry a book value of Rp 1.5 trillion. The government turned down the offer.

The court's verdict was considered by many to be lenient, especially compared to the prosecutor's demand.

Legislator Arnold Baramuli, whose disclosure of the Bapindo scandal in January lead to the current trials, has also expressed his disappointment with Tansil's sentence.

One Bapindo branch deputy manager has been sentenced to nine years imprisonment while four former Bapindo directors are currently being tried for their alleged roles in the scam.

The South Jakarta District Court yesterday held a hearing in the trial of Towil Heryoto, one of the former directors.

Riswanto Hadi, a finance division staffer at Bapindo headquarters, testified that the bank directors approved the issuance of a letter of credit for PT Graha Swakarsa Prima (GSP), a subsidiary of the Golden Key Group, before the Bapindo's project evaluation team completed its report.

"The practice is not common," he told the court.

Riswanto, who was head of the project evaluation team when the letter of credit was issued in 1991, said the report, the sales contract and the credit agreement were not available when the board of directors approved the facility. (02)