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Thursday, 15 March, 2001, 13:36 GMT
Suharto associate's sentence tripled
Bob Hasan listens to the opening of his trial
Hasan used to play golf with Mr Suharto
One of former Indonesian President Suharto's closest associates has had his sentence for corruption tripled.

Timber tycoon Muhammad 'Bob' Hasan had his two-year jail term increased to six years and was ordered to repay the $243m he was convicted of stealing from the state.

Hasan, Mr Suharto's one-time golfing and fishing partner, was the first associate of the former president to be convicted of corruption.

Mr Suharto with guards and nurses
Suharto's own trial was aborted
The former president's son, Tommy Suharto, has since been sentenced to 18 months, but is currently on the run.

Multi-million dollar corruption charges against Mr Suharto himself were dropped last year after judges ruled that he was too ill to stand trial.

Although the High Court has since overturned that ruling, the 79-year-old has yet to appear in court.

Hasan, who was appointed Mr Suharto's minister of trade in 1997, was convicted earlier this year over a scam involving a major forestry mapping project.

The prosecution said his company, PT Mapindo Parama, cheated the state by mapping only a fraction of the 599 forest concessions it was contracted to.

He was ordered to repay losses to the state of $1.4m and fined 15m rupiah ($1,578).

Appeal possible

The Jakarta High Court did not change the fine when it increased the sentence on Wednesday.

Hasan was one of Indonesia's richest men by the 1990s - Fortune Magazine estimated he was worth $3bn.

He virtually ruled Indonesia's timber trade and had interests in about 300 firms.

The prosecution had sought to have Hasan's sentence increased to eight years. It is not known whether either side plans to appeal.

Suharto trial

Mr Suharto and his family are accused of corruptly amassing as much as $45bn during his 32-year rule.

He was forced to step down in 1998 amid economic and social turmoil.

The former autocrat was supposed to go on trial last year on charges of stealing $570m of state funds, but his lawyers said he was too ill.

The Supreme Court ruled last month that Mr Suharto, who has suffered two strokes, could not be tried until his health recovered.

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See also:

20 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Rise and fall of a timber tycoon
20 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto crony in corruption trial
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