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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 November 2007, 15:23 GMT
Suharto 'will give $67m to poor'
Former Indonesian President Suharto (file photo)
Mr Suharto has always denied the allegations against him
Former Indonesian President Suharto has said he will give most of the $106m (53m) libel damages he won from Time magazine to the poor.

In September he was awarded damages over a Time article claiming he had amassed billions of dollars through corruption during his 32-year rule.

In a rare interview, he told Gatra magazine 35% of the money would be paid in tax and the poor would get the rest.

But Time stands by its story and is appealing against the court's decision.

In the Gatra article, the former dictator accused his critics of indulging in "empty talk", adding: "The fact is I have never committed corruption."

Gatra said Mr Suharto appeared frail and had trouble speaking and hearing some of the questions in the interview, which took place in his central Jakarta bungalow.

The magazine said it was the ex-president's first interview since he left office amid widespread public protests in 1998.

Long-standing allegations

Time published the article at the centre of the libel case in its Asian edition in 1999, alleging that the Suharto family amassed some $73bn during his rule.

Although the article said he lost much of this money during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, it claimed the family still had $15bn in 1999.

Mr Suharto filed a defamation suit against the magazine, originally seeking more than $27bn in damages.

His case was rejected by Jakarta's District Court in 2000 and then the Appeal Court in 2001, before succeeding with the Supreme Court.

Mr Suharto has long faced allegations of amassing a fortune while in power - claims he has always denied.

A criminal case against him was blocked last year after his lawyers argued that the 86-year-old was too ill to stand trial.

Prosecutors have since tried to bring a civil case, seeking $440m they claim disappeared from a state scholarship fund, and $1.1bn in damages.



SEE ALSO
Time vows to fight Suharto ruling
11 Sep 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Suharto case begins in Indonesia
09 Aug 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Civil suit filed against Suharto
09 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific

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