Indonesia court orders Suharto foundation to return $325 mn

Indonesia court orders Suharto foundation to return $325 mn

JAKARTA - Agence France-Presse
Indonesia court orders Suharto foundation to return $325 mn

In this Friday, Dec. 12, 2014 photo, Indonesians ride on an Army armored vehicle during an exhibition in Jakarta, Indonesia. Nearly two decades after dictator Suharto forced Indonesia?s military out of politics, the army is inching back into civilian roles, risking a setback for democracy in this Southeast Asian nation and perhaps even for the region. AP Photo

An Indonesian court has ordered a foundation set up by former Indonesian dictator Suharto to pay back about $325 million of embezzled state funds, an official said on August 11. 

The Supreme Court ruled that the huge sum, which came from an educational foundation controlled by the Suharto family, must be returned, said court spokesman Suhadi.    

Army general Suharto ruled Indonesia with an iron fist for more than three decades until he was toppled by popular protests in 1998.
Graft watchdog Transparency International has labelled him the most corrupt leader of all time, claiming he looted between $15 billion and $35 billion from the country during his time in power.    

The court ruling, which was handed down last month but only made public this week, relates to the Supersemar Foundation, said Suhadi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.    

It was set up to provide university scholarships to children from poor families but the civil lawsuit filed by the attorney general reportedly alleged the Suharto family had used it to embezzle government money.
The latest ruling reversed a 2010 decision that had ordered the foundation to pay a far smaller sum of around $320,000, according to the Jakarta Globe newspaper.
"There was a typo, some digits were missing," Suhadi explained of the 2010 ruling, without elaborating.
Juan Felix Tambupolon, a lawyer for the Suharto family, said his legal team had not officially received the Supreme Court ruling, and would decide their next move after seeing it.
"Whether we are satisfied or not, we have to respect the decision. We will decide what to do after studying it," he told AFP.    

Suharto died of natural causes in 2008, but there is still much anger among Indonesians towards the late ruler and his family.
His six children allegedly amassed fortunes by enjoying privileged access to lucrative business deals, with the most controversial being his youngest son Hutomo Mandala Putra, popularly known as Tommy.