Suharto’s half-brother agrees to drop charges
But officials must acknowledge his bank is sound.
PRESIDENT Suharto’s half-brother and business tycoon Probosutedjo has agreed to drop charges against government officials for closing down his bank if they acknowledge that it is a sound bank.
“Of course we want to reach an out-of-court settlement,” he said.
“We don’t want to cause a headache to the governor of the central bank and the Minister of Finance.”
Mr Probosutedjo filed a suit against Finance Minister Mar’ie Muhammad and Bank Indonesia Governor Soedradjad Djiwandono for closing his bank.
Bank Jakarta was one of 16 banks closed early this month as part of the government’s plan to restore confidence in the Indonesian economy, reeling from a devaluation of the rupiah.
Mr Probosutedjo defied the closure ruling from the outset, refusing to sign the liquidation order and reopened his bank to reimburse some account holders without government approval.
The Jakarta Post yesterday quoted him as saying that he would withdraw his lawsuit if Bank Indonesia announced publicly that, unlike many local banks, Bank Jakarta had never asked the central bank for loans.
It had also not been provided with any funds by the bank.
“We don’t demand that our bank be reopened,” he said.
“We only want acknowledgement that our bank owed nothing to the central bank.”
Another condition, he said, was for Bank Indonesia to allow him to pay back depositors at the bank by using its funds held by the central bank.
Three state banks, using funds from the central bank, reimbursed the depositors of 16 banks last week, but only up to a maximum of 20 million rupiah (S$9,500) per account. The balance still owed to creditors and depositors would be settled after the liquidation of the banks’ assets.
Mr Probosutedjo demanded that Bank Jakarta’s reserves at the central bank be returned, adding that it had 300 billion rupiah in assets.
He also called on Mr Mari’e to take responsibility for his bank’s employees who had lost their jobs as a result of the closure.
He said: “They are now unemployed because of Pak Mar’ie. So let him find jobs for them. I don’t care how he does it.”
Mr Probosutedjo is one of two bank owners who sued government officials for liquidating their banks.
The other is Mr Suharto’s son, Bambang Trihatmodjo, who filed a suit against Mr Mar’ie and Mr Soedradjad but later dropped it for the sake of “national interest”.