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Indonesian Prosecutors Take Suharto-Led Group's Documents

Associated Press - April 27, 2000

JAKARTA (AP)--State prosecutors seeking evidence of high-level corruption by former President Suharto confiscated documents Thursday belonging to a foundation he led.

Yushar Yahya, a spokesman of the Attorney General Office, said the next action to be taken against the assets of the former dictator would depend on the examination of the confiscated documents.

"We just seized letters and other documents related to the Supersemar foundation," Yahya said without elaborating.

The documents were seized from the 14th floor of the 20-story office building located on one of Jakarta's busiest downtown avenues. The prosecutors stopped short of confiscating the building, which was reported to be one of the pieces of evidence against Suharto.

"We will cross-check the documents with testimonies of the witnesses before deciding further steps," Yahya said.

A Jakarta court had ruled that prosecutors could freeze property owned by Suharto and the foundations, which operated for decades without any financial controls.

Suharto is a key suspect in a corruption scandal involving the misuse of millions of dollars from charitable foundations he managed during his 32 years in power.

The ailing 79-year-old has already been barred from leaving Jakarta after his claims of illness blocked repeated attempts to interrogate him.

Suharto quit in May 1998 amid violent protests against his authoritarian rule, leaving a legacy of endemic corruption and nepotism.

Prosecutors have already questioned two of Suharto's six children in connection with the case, as well as some former senior officials during his rule.

President Abdurrahman Wahid has reiterated his promise to pardon Suharto,

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who has denied any wrongdoing, if he returns any ill-gotten gains.