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Wednesday, 20 September, 2000, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Rise and fall of a timber tycoon
Bob Hasan listens to the opening of his trial
Mr Hasan used to play golf with Mr Suharto
Indonesian timber tycoon Mohamad 'Bob' Hasan is the first close friend of former President Suharto to go on trial.

Mr Suharto
Mr Hasan was quizzed during the Suharto corruption probe
He started out as a humble truck driver, but by the 1990s he was one of Indonesia's richest men - Fortune Magazine estimated he was worth $3bn.

Mr Hasan was Mr Suharto's trusted confidant and his golfing and fishing buddy - indeed the businessman was said to be one of the few allowed to beat the president.

He was by Mr Suharto's side when he came to power in the mid-1960s and was trade and industry minister in the dictator's last cabinet before his downfall in 1998.

Empire

forest
Mr Hasan made his fortune in timber
The pair met 40 years ago when Mr Hasan was a small businessman and Mr Suharto a powerful young officer in the army.

Mr Hasan subsequently carved himself an empire from business deals forged with the military and partnerships with Mr Suharto's children.

He expanded from timber into oil, media, banking and insurance.

By the 1990s he virtually ruled Indonesia's timber trade and had interests in about 300 firms.

Mr Hasan is a member of the International Olympics Committee
IOC member Mr Hasan is spending the Olympics behind bars
During his career Mr Hasan has also worn another hat as a keen sports patron and is still a member of the International Olympic Committee.

After his arrest in March the IOC scandalised Indonesia by asking the government to release Mr Hasan so he could attend the Sydney Olympics - a request that was flatly refused.

Suharto links

The charges against Mr Hasan relate to an alleged scam involving an aerial forestry mapping contract and the misuse of nearly $250m of state and other funds.

Mr Suharto with guards and nurses
Mr Suharto says he is too ill to stand trial
As Mr Hasan ponders his fate, his friend Suharto is under house arrest awaiting the outcome of his own corruption trial.

The former president is accused of swindling around $570m from charities he controlled during his 32 years in power.

Mr Hasan, who managed several of the charities, was questioned several times during the probe into the Suhartos' vast fortunes.

After his friend's fall from power in 1998, Mr Hasan attempted to distance himself from the corruption investigations and relinquished control of some of his companies.

He is now said to be one of the largest debtors to the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA), reportedly owing $730m as of July.

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See also:

20 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto crony in corruption trial
18 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Suharto guards ordered to disarm
16 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Tommy Suharto denies bombing
06 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Wahid's many problems
05 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia warns of timber industry bribes
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