BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Chinese Vietnamese Burmese Thai Indonesian

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Asia-Pacific  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Tommy Suharto: Flamboyant playboy
Tommy Suharto
Tommy Suharto: Once said to be worth $800m
To many Indonesians, Tommy Suharto seemed to epitomise all that had gone wrong for their country at the end of his father's 32-year rule.

As food riots erupted during Indonesia's 1998 economic crisis, Tommy arrived at a news conference in his trademark sparkling blue Rolls Royce.

Tommy Suharto
Tommy Suharto is his father's youngest son
Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra was once said to be worth at least $800m, something he never shied away from flaunting.

In his heyday, his wide-ranging business interests stretched throughout Indonesia to the United States, New Zealand and Nigeria.

Under the banner of the Humpuss Conglomerate, Tommy held major shareholdings in an at least 90 companies, ranging from oil exploration to natural gas, pharmaceuticals, construction and shipping.

Cars and girls

His jet-setting business career was matched by a playboy lifestyle.

Tommy dated a string of Indonesian starlets and beauty queens until his marriage in 1997.

His bride Ardhia Pramesti Regita Cahyani Soerjosoebandoro, a descendent of the Javanese royal dynasty, was a fittingly glamorous match.

Tommy Suharto's wedding in 1997
Tommy's 1997 wedding was suitably lavish

Tommy was equally well-known for his love of cars. His Rolls Royce - just one of the many cars in his collection - was a well-known sight on the streets of Jakarta.

In 1993, he also spent $40m acquiring a majority shareholding in the Italian luxury car manufacturer, Lamborghini.

He owned a 75% stake in an 18-hole golf course with 22 luxury apartments in England, a $4m hunting ranch in New Zealand and a half share in a $4m yacht moored in Australia.

Perhaps the greatest gift Tommy received from his father was the exclusive - and tax-exempt - franchise for the production of Indonesia's national car, the "Timor".

Wanted poster of Tommy Suharto, July 2001
Police say Tommy used a fake ID card while on the run

He was later forced to relinquish this lucrative project as a condition of the International Monetary Fund bail-out for Indonesia in 1998.

He also had to surrender a valuable local monopoly on cloves - a key ingredient in Indonesia's sweetly scented kretek cigarettes.

On trial

In September 2000 Tommy's freewheeling lifestyle appeared to have finally caught up with him when Supreme Court Judge Syafiuddin Kartasasmita sentenced him to 18 months in jail in relation to an $11m land scam for which he had previously been acquitted.

Tommy later approached Judge Kartasasmita and asked him to change his mind.

When that failed he tried to get a presidential pardon, but to no avail.

Tommy Suharto playing badminton in prison
Too sick to hear the verdict, Tommy was playing badminton three days later
Tommy then went on the run for more than a year, sparking ridicule of the police and judicial systems which had apparently allowed him to slip through the net.

While Tommy was out of the public view, Judge Kartasasmita was gunned down in a Jakarta street.

A year to the day after the assassination, Tommy Suharto was found guilty of hiring the judge's killers, of having the gun that killed him and of trying to evade justice.

And though he said he was too sick to attend the final day of his court case, the verdict may even have helped his health - three days later he was shown playing badminton in prison.

See also:

29 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
28 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
01 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
28 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
28 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |