Govt can seize Suharto son`s assets: Indonesia SC

Indonesia`s SC overturns own ruling made two years ago in a civil case against former President Suharto`s youngest son.

Jakarta: Indonesia`s Supreme Court has
overturned its own ruling made two years ago in a civil case
against former President Suharto`s youngest son and ordered
the seizure of assets he owned in the national car company PT
Timor Putra Nasional, the court`s spokesman said.

Spokesman Nurhadi said the court reviewed the case after
the Finance Ministry, acting as the government plaintiff,
presented new evidence in support of the government position.

"The ruling was final and there will be no more suits or
appeals," he said yesterday.

Under the latest ruling, the government could seize 1.22
trillion rupiah in assets belonging to Timor, owned by
Suharto`s youngest son Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra.

The legal wrangling began when Timor relinquished its
assets to the country`s now-defunct Indonesian Banking
Restructuring Agency in 1999 as a guarantee against an
outstanding debt of 4 trillion rupiah to the state.

Timor imported South Korean cars, put its logo on the
vehicles, and sold them as national cars.

The project failed following the Asian financial crisis
in 1997.

In 2003, the Banking Restructuring Agency resold Timor`s
assets to a little-known company, PT Vista Bella Pratama, for
a mere 445 billion rupiah. The sale meant the loan transfer
rights passed from the government to Vista, allowing the
latter to collect the 4 trillion rupiah debt from Timor.

The country`s Corruption Eradication Commission later
found that Vista was affiliated with Timor.

Following the discovery, the government declared the
transaction between the Banking Restructuring Agency and Vista

In June 2007, the Finance Ministry filed a lawsuit
against Tommy and his companies, saying the sale of Timor`s
assets was illegal as both companies belong to him.

In 2008, two lower courts ruled that Tommy and his
companies did not violate the law because the transaction was
made "based on a joint agreement" with the Banking
Restructuring Agency.

The courts also said there was "no legal connection"
between the companies.