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Jakarta Correspondent Richard Galpin
"Suharto's best defence is his state of health"
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Jakarta correspondent Richard Galpin
Allegations of massive corruption surrounding former President Suharto
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Wednesday, 26 July, 2000, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Suharto 'stole $155m'
Mr Suharto is under house arrest in Jakarta
Indonesian prosecutors have said they are ready to file charges against former president Suharto for allegedly stealing $155m from the state.

They said the charges would be formally submitted to a court before 10 August.

Mr Suharto, 79, has been accused of misusing millions in dollars raised by seven charitable foundations under his control during his 32 years in power.

The former president, who was forced from power two years ago, has denied the allegations.

He has been accused of siphoning off billions of dollars of state funds whilst in power.

Charities 'misused'

President Wahid
President Wahid has said he will pardon the former leader
However, the current investigation has focused on one specific allegation - the misuse of several charities set up by Mr Suharto to which civil servants and companies were obliged to make donations.

Prosecutors say Mr Suharto channelled the money for the benefit of his own family instead of using it to alleviate widespread poverty.

"The total loss to the state is 1.4bn rupiah ($155m) which involves the seven foundations that used to be managed by Suharto," prosecutor Antasari Azhar said.

The prosecutor was speaking after the team investigating the former dictator's alleged corruption had presented their final summary to the attorney-general's office.

House arrest

Mr Suharto, who has suffered a stroke, is under house arrest in central Jakarta. His lawyers say he is too ill to answer questions.

President Abdurrahman Wahid has said Mr Suharto will be pardoned if found guilty, but should face trial.

Nonetheless the attorney-general seems determined to press ahead with the case.

In June President Wahid said he believed the former president had over $45bn stahed away in foreign back accounts - 95% of which, he said, would eventually be recovered by the state.

He has tried to broker a deal with the Suharto family for the return of the alleged stolen funds.

Last week, prosecutors impounded a 12-floor office building owned by Suharto's foundations and confiscated a mansion belonging to the former treasurer of one of the foundations.

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