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NZ Government Offers to Help To Find Soeharto assets

27 April 2000

Faktor -021 : disita, harta Soeharto di luar negeri - NZ Government Offers to Help To Find Soeharto assets

[translated from Indonesian]

JAKARTA, April 27 Attorney General Marzuki Darusman said that the government is requesting the assistance of the United States, Switzerland, and New Zealand to freeze the assets of former president Soeharto which are suspected of having been gained through corruption.

"In addition to the information which we have received from the New Zealand government, we are also asking Switzerland and the United States to look for Soeharto's overseas assets," said Marzuki on Wednesday (26/4) after a cabinet meeting at Bina Graha House [President's Executive Office], Jakarta.

Marzuki explained that the Foreign Minister of New Zealand had offered to seek out Soeharto's varied assets in his country. "The New Zealand Foreign Minister met with me and explained that the New Zealand people are aware of [Soeharto family] assets there. Their government is prepared to cooperate in smoothing the way for the legal action that the Indonesian government needs to take," he said.

According to him, Soeharto assets in New Zealand include [resort] inns and other types of properties. The Attorney General is seeking further information.

In addition, the government has also asked Ambassador Mrs Tati Darsoyo to hold discussions with Swiss officials aimed at expediting cooperation in legal matters. "This includes the possibility of assistance in exposing Soeharto's deposits there," he said.

Marzuki emphasised that before that could happen, the Attorney General's Office would have to submit a request that all assets of former president Soeharto suspected of having been obtained through corruption be frozen. If at trial it is not proven that they were the proceeds of corruption, then the frozen assets would be released.

"We will have to verify the amounts involved so that we can get a fuller picture. At this point there are no official figures," he emphasised.

He explained that freezing assets was a security step, and they would not be sold off immediately. "Freezing the assets of a suspect is done because the prosecuters have reason to believe that they were obtained through corrupt means," explained Marzuki.

As reported earlier, after meating with President "Gus Dur" at the State Palace on Monday (24/4), New Zealand Foreign Minister Goff promised to assist Indonesia in ferreting out Soeharto family wealth in his country.

"The New Zealand Foreign Minister offered assistance, and if there are assets in New Zealand that turn out to have been obtained through corruption, 'we are prepared to help'," said Foreign Secretary Alwi Shihab, quoting Goff as he met with Gus Dur.

In replying to the offer, President Gus Dur responded positively making the jocular comment, "It appears that he (Soeharto) didn't keep his wealth anywhere near Indonesia. He put it in far away places. If it had been close by we would have smelled it," said Alwi quoting Gus Dur.

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