Jakarta – Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto has been reported to the police by a former business partner over allegations of fraud and embezzlement of Rp 500 billion (US$36.3 million).
Lawyer Husdi Herman said his client Yulius Isyudianto reported Agus to the police on Jan. 8 because Yulius had not received settlement money he claimed had been promised by Agus in 2014.
"We reported him as an individual. The lawsuit is not related to his position as a minister," he told journalists on Monday as quoted by wartakota.tribunnews.com.
The lawyer added that the settlement money was related to a profit-sharing dispute between Yulius, Agus and other partners involved in a nickel ore mining and transportation project owned by diversified mining company PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) in North Maluku. Yulius claimed his company PT Yudistira Bumi Bhakti was supposed to receive US$84.2 million in profit from Agus' business consolidation.
Husdi said the dispute had been reported to the police in 2014 and that the police had named one of Agus' colleagues a suspect. The lawyer added that Yulius accepted a peace offering of Rp 500 billion at the time and dropped the case. However, the payment was never made.
Husdi said Agus did not respond to a legal notice sent by him and his client, prompting him to report the minister to the police.
Responding to the matter, Agus' lawyer, Petrus Bala Pattyona, said he had sent two legal notices to Yulius because the report was "fabricated and fictitious."
"The report is baseless and not supported by any evidence," Petrus said, adding that Husdi and Agus had yet to respond to his legal notices.
Petrus refused to provide a detailed explanation regarding the issue as police investigators were still investigating the report. He said his client was ready to provide a statement to the police.
National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Argo Yuwono said the police would follow up on Yulius' report by "clarifying the report to the plaintiff as well as questioning witnesses and looking at evidence." Should investigators find enough evidence, the police will continue the investigation, the spokesperson went on to say.
"If investigators do not find any proof of a criminal violation, the investigation will be stopped," Argo said. (eyc)